Progressive Party (Israel)
|Dissolved||8 May 1961|
|Merger of||New Aliyah Party and HaOved HaTzioni|
|Merged into||Liberal Party|
|Most MKs||6 (1959–1961)|
|Fewest MKs||4 (1951–1955)|
The Progressive Party was a liberal party, most of whose founders came from the ranks of the New Aliyah Party and HaOved HaTzioni, which had been active prior to independence. It consisted primarily of immigrants from Central Europe.
It was formed by three groups: First, and most numerous, was the mostly Central European, middle class New Aliyah Party, which generally took a liberal position on social issues. Second was HaOved HaTzioni, a non-socialist labor group in the Histadrut that rejected the idea of class struggle. Last was "group A" of the General Zionists, which was made up of artisans, small farmers, and members of the liberal professions, and which unlike "group B" was left of center and oriented toward the Histadrut. The Progressives favored private investment and shifting control over essential services and welfare functions from the Histadrut to the state. Although they were not socialists, they were intellectually sympathetic to socialist aspirations and open to cooperating with Mapai in a coalition government.
In the 1949 elections the party gained five seats, with Idov Cohen, Yeshayahu Forder, Avraham Granot, Yizhar Harari and Pinchas Rosen taking their place as Members of the Knesset (MKs). They joined the government as a coalition partner of David Ben-Gurion's Mapai party, and were members of both the first and second governments.
In the 1951 elections the party lost a seat and dropped to four MKs. They were not included in Ben-Gurion's original coalition, but were brought into the fourth government as a replacement for the ultra-orthodox parties Agudat Yisrael and Poalei Agudat Yisrael, who had resigned over religious education issues. They were also a coalition partner in the fifth government (created when Ben Gurion resigned and was replaced by Moshe Sharett), but were dropped from the sixth government after a motion of no-confidence had been brought against the ruling coalition.
At the 1959 elections the party gained another seat, their representation rising to six MKs. Again they joined Ben-Gurion's coalition. On 8 May 1961 the party merged with the General Zionists to form the Liberal Party. It was the motion of no-confidence brought by the new Liberal Party and Herut that brought down the government.
The 1961 election saw the Liberal Party become the third largest in the Knesset, though they did not join the coalition. Later in the session, the majority of the Liberal Party MKs merged with Herut to form Gahal (which eventually became Likud). However, the MKs that agreed with the merger were largely previous members of the General Zionists. Most former Progressive Party MKs objected to the alliance with Herut and set up the Independent Liberals instead.
- Israeli legislative election, 1949
- 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.
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)
- Ervin Birnbaum (1970). The Politics of Compromise: State and Religion in Israel. pp. 60, 66–67. ISBN 08386 7567 0.
- "Mergers and Splits Among Parliamentary Groups". Knesset website
- Progressive Party Knesset website