Tehiya (Hebrew: תחיה, Revival), originally known as Banai (Hebrew: בנא"י, an acronym for Land of Israel Loyalists' Alliance (Hebrew: ברית נאמני ארץ ישראל)), then Tehiya-Bnai (Hebrew: תחייה-בנא"י), was a small right-wing political party in Israel that existed from 1979 until 1992. In the eyes of many, Tehiya was identified with Geula Cohen, who founded the party and headed it throughout its existence.
The party was formed in 1979 during the term of the ninth Knesset, when Geula Cohen and Moshe Shamir broke away from Likud in response to the Camp David Treaty between Egypt and Israel, particularly to the surrender of the Sinai peninsula to Egypt, and the eviction of its Israeli residents.
Tehiya was strongly affiliated with the extra-parliamentary movement of Gush Emunim, and included prominent members of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza such as Hanan Porat (later to be a member of the Knesset for the National Religious Party and the National Union) and Elyakim Haetzni. Another founder and prominent member was the physicist Yuval Neeman.
In its first electoral test, the 1981 elections, Tehiya picked up three seats. Despite their previous difference of opinion, they were included in Menachem Begin's coalition government alongside Likud, the National Religious Party, Agudat Israel, Tami and Telem. Although Cohen did not take a ministerial position, Neeman became Minister of Science and Development.
In the 1984 elections, Tehiya became the third largest party in the Knesset after the Alignment and Likud, albeit with only five seats. However, they were excluded from Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir's national unity government, which included the Alignment, Likud, the National Religious Party, Agudat Israel, Shas, Morasha, Shinui and Ometz. During the Knesset session Rafael Eitan defected from Tehiya to found a new party, Tzomet.
The party was reduced to three seats in the 1988 elections, and was again left out of Shamir's national unity government. However, when the Alignment left the coalition in 1990, Tehiya were invited into a new narrow right-wing government which included Likud, the National Religious Party, Shas, Agudat Israel, Degel HaTorah, the Party for Advancing the Zionist Idea. Although Cohen again declined a ministerial position, Neeman was appointed Minister of Energy and Infrastructure and Minister of Science and Technology. Despite its late entry to the government, the party pulled out of the coalition on 21 January 1992 in protest over Yitzhak Shamir's participation in the Madrid conference.
In the June 1992 elections, the party failed to cross the electoral threshold, and subsequently disappeared. It is likely that most of its electorate went to Eitan's Tzomet, who jumped from two seats in the 1988 elections to eight in the 1992 votes. The two parties had competed on the same secular right-wing electorate, though Tzomet had a much more pronounced secular, even anti-religious stand.
Tehiya fronted a number of controversial positions in its time, some of which were adopted by the mainstream; most notably, the Jerusalem Law enacted on 30 July 1980 establishing Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.
|Geula Cohen, Moshe Shamir|
|Geula Cohen, Yuval Neeman, Hanan Porat (replaced by Zvi Shiloah)|
|Geula Cohen, Yuval Neeman, Gershon Shafat, Eliezer Waldman
− Rafael Eitan (to Tzomet)
|Geula Cohen, Yuval Neeman (replaced by Elyakim Haetzni), Eliezer Waldman (replaced by Gershon Shafat)|
The Tehiya platform at the 1988 elections included:
- Jewish sovereignty over all of Greater Israel, with its name changed to "Eretz Yisrael".
- Increase of the number of Jews living in all quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem
- Strengthening of the IDF, including technical development and severe punishment for refusal to serve
- Support and increase for the settlements of the West Bank and Gaza, including establishment of a special police force
- Clemency for Jews convicted of crimes committed due to "security distress"
- Peace agreements only with Arab states who acquiesce to Jewish control of all of Greater Israel
- Jordan being the Palestinian State, all attempts to create a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River are to be prevented
- Cancellation of the access of Palestinians to the High Court of Justice
- Death penalty for severe cases of violence by Palestinians
- Licence for Israeli soldiers to shoot stone throwers
- Punishments of Palestinians to include collective punishments
- Wide access roads through the casbahs of Palestinian cities