Skip to main content

Why is Israeli Labor shifting back to leftist agenda?

Israel’s Labor Party is returning to its left-wing agenda, readopting the vision of peace of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Left-wing Israeli protesters hold placards during a demonstration against the recent Palestinian-Israeli violence in Tel Aviv, Israel October 9, 2015. In the past 10 days, four Israelis have been shot or stabbed to death in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, and at least a dozen have been wounded by Palestinians wielding knives or screwdrivers in stabbings in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities. Three Palestinians have also been killed, and scores wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces during ston
Read in 

"The term 'leftist' has become a curse word in Israel, and we're going to stop that. Yes, I am a leftist, and I am not embarrassed about it. Only after we stop lowering our heads and feeling ashamed of who we are, will we win." The text appears in a video clip, "The leftists are on their way back," released April 18 by Knesset member Erel Margalit as part of his campaign for leadership of the Labor Party, the large partner within the Zionist Camp. And it is yet another expression of what is turning out to be the end of an era of political ambiguity in the Labor Party.

On July 4, Israeli Labor will elect a new leader to take them to the next election. The most interesting and important phenomenon in this race is that each candidate is highlighting a diplomatic agenda based on that of former party chair and assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. For the first time in years, they are not trying to run away from attempts to brand them as "left." In fact, quite the opposite is true.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.