Independent Liberals

ליברלים עצמאיים
LeaderMoshe Kol
Gideon Hausner
Yitzhak Artzi
Founded16 March 1965
Split fromIsraeli Liberal Party
Merged intoIsraeli Labor Party
Social liberalism[1][2]
Political positionCentre
International affiliationLiberal International[4]
Most MKs7 (1965)
Fewest MKs1 (1977–1981;1984-1988)
Election symbol

The Independent Liberals (Hebrew: ליברלים עצמאיים‎, Libralim Atzma'im) were a political party in Israel that existed between 1965 to 1992.


The Independent Liberals party was formed during the fifth Knesset in the aftermath of the merger of the Liberal Party and Herut. Seven of the 17 Liberal Party MKs led by former Minister of Justice, Pinchas Rosen, disagreed with the merger and founded a new party in response. Almost all of the dissenters were former members of the Progressive Party, which had merged with the General Zionists to create the Liberal Party during the fourth Knesset, and also included Rachel Cohen-Kagan, formerly an MK for Women's International Zionist Organization.

The party agreed to have the Israeli participation in Liberal International shared equally with the Liberal Party.[5]

In their first electoral test, the 1965 legislative election, the Independent Liberals won 5 seats and joined Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir's coalition governments, with Moshe Kol appointed Minister of Tourism and Minister of Development. During the sixth Knesset they lost one seat when Yizhar Harari left the party to join the Alignment.

In the 1969 election the party won four seats and were again included in Meir's coalition government. Kol retained his post as Minister of Tourism. The party also won four seats in the 1973 election and were included in both of Meir and Yitzhak Rabin's coalition governments. Kol again retained his post as Minister of Tourism and Gideon Hausner was made a Minister without Portfolio. However, they lost one seat when Hillel Seidel defected to Likud.

The 1977 election saw the party win only one seat, barely crossing the 1% electoral threshold (they received 1.3% of the vote). The party was also excluded from Menachem Begin's right-wing coalition. The 1981 election saw the party fail to cross the electoral threshold and disappear from the Knesset. For the 1984 election the party ran as a faction of the Alignment, with Independent Liberals leader Yitzhak Artzi given 44th place on the Alignment electoral list.[4][6]

On 15 March 1988, near the end of the 11th Knesset, Artzi left the Alignment and joined the Shinui parliamentary group.[4][7][8] In the 1988 election, the Independent Liberals ran as part of the Centre–Shinui Movement with Shinui and the Centre Movement, but the combined list won only two seats and none were for Independent Liberal members.[9][10] The Independent Liberal party merged with the Israeli Labor Party in 1992.[9]

Election results

Election Leader Votes % Position Seats +/– Outcome
1965 Moshe Kol 45,299 3.75 Increase 6th
5 / 120
1969 Moshe Kol 43,933 3.21 Steady 5th
4 / 120
Decrease 1 Coalition
1973 Moshe Kol 56,560 3.61 Steady 5th
4 / 120
Steady Coalition
1977 Gideon Hausner 20,384 1.17 Decrease 13th
1 / 120
Decrease 3 Opposition
1981 Yitzhak Artzi 11,764 0.61 Increase 12th
0 / 120
Decrease 1 Extra-parliamentary
1984 Yitzhak Artzi 724,074
(as part of the Alignment)
34.9 Increase 1st
1 / 120
Increase 1 Coalition


  1. ^ a b Goldstein, Amir (Spring 2011). ""We Have a Rendezvous With Destiny"—The Rise and Fall of the Liberal Alternative". Israel Studies. 16 (1): 27, 32, 47, 49. doi:10.2979/isr.2011.16.1.26. S2CID 143487617. Thus, the PP continued to represent mostly white collar and government workers, intellectuals, and the labor intelligentsia, all of whom favored the social liberalism, broadly-based universal views, and social and religious pluralism that the party stood for.⁴(27); Kol wrote to Goldmann...: 'But the party must be founded on a clear ideological basis, and no such basis exists between our progressive humanistic liberalism and Herut.'²⁰(32); Kol emphasized that, 'The Herut Movement and social liberalism cannot dwell together in the same house.'(47); The PP, renamed the 'Independent Liberal Party,' resumed its progressive activity by trying to influence government policy—even if only marginally—from within the Labor camp, and affiliating itself with the ruling party.(49)
  2. ^ "Translations on Near East and North Africa, No. 1635: Background to May 1977 General Elections". U.S. Joint Publications Research Service (68874): 13. 4 April 1977. The liberalism of Independent Liberals is in the spirit of the social humanism of the 20th Century.
  3. ^ Ervin Birnbaum (1970). The Politics of Compromise: State and Religion in Israel. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 66. ISBN 08386-7567-0. The ILP is strongly secularist and is a staunch foe of religious encroachment and domination in the country.
  4. ^ a b c Encyclopedia Judaica. 9. 2007. p. 771. The Independent Liberal Party was affiliated with the Liberal International. In the elections to the Eleventh Knesset in 1984 the Independent Liberals ran within the Alignment list, and its representative, Yitzhak Arzi was elected. Towards the end of the Eleventh Knesset Arzi left the Alignment and joined the Shinui parliamentary group. Towards the end of the 1980s the Independent Liberals ceased to exist.
  5. ^ Julie Smith (1997). A Sense of Liberty: The History of the Liberal International, 1847-1997. Liberal International. p. 45. Contacts with Israeli Liberals were complicated by domestic party divisions within the Israeli Party. LI had contacts with the Progressive Party and the General Zionist Party in the 1950s; a united Liberal Party was created in 1961 and joined LI. Then in 1965, following further domestic political change, the party split and the two offshoots, the Liberal Party (formerly the General Zionists) and the Independent Liberal Party (formerly Progressives), agreed that Israeli participation should be shared equally between them.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "The Israeli Elections: 27 Parties of All Kinds Running (part 1 of a Series)". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 1988-10-24.
  8. ^ Mergers and Splits Among Parliamentary Groups
  9. ^ a b Shmuel Sandler, M. Ben Mollov & Jonathan Rynhold, ed. (2005). Israel at the Polls, 2003. Routledge. p. 95. ISBN 9781136828072. The Independent Liberal party survived as an independent party from 1965 until 1981; its representative participated in the Labour list in 1984; it formed together with Shinui the Shinui-Centre party in the 1988 elections, but did not succeed in winning a seat in the Knesset; and in 1992 it merged with the Labour party.
  10. ^ Arthur S. Banks & Thomas C. Muller, ed. (1998). Political Handbook of the World: 1998. Springer. p. 458. ISBN 9781349149513.