1965 Israeli legislative election

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Elections for the 6th Knesset
← 1961 2 November 1965 1969 →
Party Leader % Seats ±
Alignment Levi Eshkol 36.7% 45 -5
Gahal Menachem Begin 21.3% 26 -8
Mafdal Haim-Moshe Shapira 8.9% 11 -1
Rafi David Ben-Gurion 7.9% 10 New
Mapam Meir Ya'ari 6.6% 8 -1
Independent Liberals Moshe Kol 3.8% 5 New
Agudat Yisrael Yitzhak-Meir Levin 3.3% 4 0
Rakah Meir Vilner 2.3% 3 New
PAI Kalman Kahana 1.9% 2 0
Progress and Development Seif el-Din el-Zoubi 1.8% 2 0
Cooperation and Brotherhood Diyab Obeid 1.3% 2 0
Meri Uri Avnery 1.2% 1 New
Maki Shmuel Mikunis 1.1% 1 -4
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.
Prime Minister before Prime Minister after
Levi Eshkol
Levi Eshkol

Elections for the sixth Knesset were held in Israel on 2 November 1965.[1][2] Voter turnout was 85.9%.[3]


Prior to the elections, two major alliances were formed; Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda united to form the Alignment, whilst Herut and the Liberal Party had formed the Gahal alliance towards the end of the previous Knesset session. However, both Mapai and the Liberal Party had been hit by breakaway factions, the Ben-Gurion led Rafi and the Independent Liberals (largely composed of former Progressive Party members) respectively.

The communist Maki had also experienced a split earlier in the year, with most of its Arab members and some Jewish members breaking away to establish Rakah.

A new Mapai-affiliated Arab party, Cooperation and Brotherhood was formed to contest the election, whilst the Arab Socialist List was prevented from running by the Central Elections Committee due to its links with the banned al-Ard organisation. Peace activist Abie Nathan entered a party list, Nes.


1965 Knesset.svg
Party Votes % Seats +/−
Alignment ¹ 443,379 36.7 45 −5
Gahal ² 256,957 21.3 26 −1
National Religious Party 107,966 8.9 11 −1
Rafi ¹ 95,328 7.9 10 New
Mapam ¹ 79,985 6.6 8 −1
Independent Liberals ¹ 45,299 3.8 5 New
Agudat Yisrael 39,795 3.3 4 0
Rakah 27,413 2.3 3 New
Progress and Development ³ 23,430 1.9 2 0
Poalei Agudat Yisrael 22,066 1.8 2 0
Cooperation and Brotherhood ³ 16,464 1.3 2 0
HaOlam HaZeh – Koah Hadash 14,124 1.2 1 New
Maki 13,617 1.1 1 −4
Movement for Brotherhood 11,244 0.9 0 New
Peace List 5,536 0.5 0 New
Nes 2,135 0.2 0 New
Young Israel 1,990 0.2 0 New
Invalid/blank votes 37,978
Total 1,244,706 100 120 0
Source: Nohlen et al.

¹ Rafi, Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda merged into the Labor Party in 1968, although David Ben-Gurion (Rafi) became an independent. In 1969 the Labor Party formed an alliance with Mapam also named the Alignment. In addition, Yizhar Harari left the Independent Liberals to join the Alignment.

² Four MKs broke away from Gahal to establish the Free Centre

³ Progress and Development and Cooperation and Brotherhood merged to form Cooperation and Development, which then broke up into the two original parties, the Druze Party and Jewish-Arab Brotherhood, each with a single seat.

The Sixth Knesset[edit]

The sixth Knesset started with Levi Eshkol's Alignment forming the thirteenth government on 12 January 1966. His coalition included the National Religious Party, Mapam, the Independent Liberals, Poalei Agudat Yisrael, Progress and Development and Cooperation and Brotherhood, and had eighteen ministers. Kadish Luz of the Alignment retained his position as Knesset Speaker. At the end of August, 1966 the new Knesset at Givat Ram in Jerusalem was opened. When the Six-Day War broke out on 5 June 1967, Gahal and Rafi joined the coalition to form a national unity government with 21 ministers. The government was ended by Eshkol's death on 26 February 1969.

Golda Meir of the Alignment formed the fourteenth government, also a national unity government, on 17 March 1969. The coalition partners were Gahal, the National Religious Party, the Independent Liberals, Progress and Development and Cooperation and Brotherhood.

The sixth Knesset is notable for being the only one in which a party has ever held a majority of the seats by itself. By the end of the session, the merger of Mapam and Rafi into the Alignment left it with 63 seats (53% of the total). Although the party came close to equalling the feat in the 1969 elections, when it won 56 seats (which is still the best electoral performance on record), no party has managed it since.


  1. ^ Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson, ed. A History of the Jewish People (Harvard University Press, 1976) p1092
  2. ^ "Labor Leads Israeli Election", Montreal Gazette, 3 November 1965, p1
  3. ^ Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume I, p124 ISBN 0-19-924958-X

External links[edit]