The decline of the Labor Party is one of the great mysteries of Israeli politics. From achieving forty-seven seats in the 1981 election, it attained a mere seven seats in the March 2021 election. From being the leading party in the electoral firmament, it is now subservient to the whims of the center and right-wing parties. While outside factors such as globalization and deregulation led to the demise of the command economy and the embrace of capitalism, the blurring of ideology has left Labor in search of an identity. Yet the decline of the Left in general can be traced back to the very beginning of the state—to an infatuation by Mapam with all things Soviet and David Ben-Gurion’s obsession about the Lavon affair. While the Left squabbled internally and fragmented, the Right built bridges and coalesced to eventually become the permanent party of power.

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