Election Chronicles > Elections > 1965 Elections

1965 Elections

  

A clash of titans took place in Mapai in advance of elections for the sixth Knesset in November, 1965. In the summer of 1963, David Ben Gurion resigned once again. The principal reason was a struggle between the elderly leader and representatives of the "middle generation" – Levy Eshkol, Golda Meir, Pinchas Sapir and Zalman Aran. Ben Gurion did his utmost to undermine Eshkol's leadership. Eshkol, in turn, sought to fortify the party by establishing a new Ma'arach – a merger of Mapai and Achdut Haavodah.

 
The Commission of Seven cleared Pinchas Lavon's name in the "unfortunate business". For Eshkol, that was the end of the affair. Ben Gurion however, continued to call for a legal commission of inquiry. Eshkol refused emphatically. In December 1964, Eshkol resigned. He was given another mandate by the president and established another government, identical to its predecessor. In February 1965 the major conflict occurred at the Mapai convention. Sharett and Golda Meir made strong speeches against "the Old Man" and Eshkol rose to the occasion in a historical speech in which he demanded that the "affair" be put to rest and the Ma'arach established. Eshkol garnered support and Ben Gurion was pushed out. He established Rafi, his last political home.
דוד בן-גוריון נושא דברים באספת בחירות של מפלגת רפ"י בהדר יוסף, בתל-אביב
 

 

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​1949 •​ 1951​ •​ ​1955 •​ 1959 •​ 1961 •​​ 1965 •​​ ​1969 •​​ 1973 •​​ 1977 •​​ 1981

 

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The German Scientists

The early 1960s were fairly quiet on the security front. Nevertheless, Egyptian efforts to develop long range ground-to-ground missiles did not escape the public's attention. The Revolution Day procession in 1962 features Egyptian missiles and President Nasser claimed that they were capable of reaching "just south of Beirut". It soon became public knowledge that German scientists had been active in the Egyptian missile project. Israel received information according to which these scientists were also involved in developing non-conventional weapons.

The Mossad, under Isser Harel, began to gather intelligence and sabotage these scientists in a variety of ways. In March 1963, two Mossad operatives were caught in Switzerland and the issue found its way to the international public agenda. In the meantime, Israel continued its undercover operations. The Israeli public was terrified by reports of weapons of mass destructions in Egypt, especially given the German involvement. A conflict arose: Isser Harel advocated taking action against Germany, while Ben Gurion took a more pragmatic line, especially in light of the economic and security support Israel was receiving from Germany. Ben Gurion and Shimon Peres rejected the Mossad assessment of affairs, while Golda Meir and others supported it. Ben Gurion cited this conflict as one of the reasons for his resignation in 1963. 
דעת בון: מדענים גרמניים צעירים לא ילכו למצרים

 

 

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​1949 •​ 1951​ •​ ​1955 •​ 1959 •​ 1961 •​​ 1965 •​​ ​1969 •​​ 1973 •​​ 1977 •​​ 1981

 

1984​ •​​ 1988​​​ •​​ 1992​ •​​ 1996​​ •​​ 1999​​ •​​ 2001​​ •​​​​ 2003​​ •​​​ 2006 •​​​​ 2009​​

  

 

  

The Yeredor Case
A milestone in Israeli constitutional law was reached in advance of the 1965 elections. For the first time in the history of the state, a party that sought to participate in the elections was disqualified on the grounds of its position regarding the state itself. Among the members of the Socialist party were people who have been identified with El Arad, an organization that had been declared illegal. The Central Elections Committee disqualified the Socialist party, which appealed to the Supreme Court. The verdict, which was known as the Yeredor verdict, was a majority ruling. Chief Justice Agranat and Justice Zussman were in favor of disqualifying the party, while Justice Chaim Cohen argued that this should not be done unless the law expressly permitted it. The majority believed that a party that called for the elimination of the State of Israel should not be permitted to participate in the elections. The case also raised the question of the Central Elections Committee's authority to disqualify a party that negates the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish state or its democratic character, or which incites to racism.
אנשי "אל ארד" יצהירו אמונים למדינה

 

 

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​1949 •​ 1951​ •​ ​1955 •​ 1959 •​ 1961 •​​ 1965 •​​ ​1969 •​​ 1973 •​​ 1977 •​​ 1981

 

1984​ •​​ 1988​​​ •​​ 1992​ •​​ 1996​​ •​​ 1999​​ •​​ 2001​​ •​​​​ 2003​​ •​​​ 2006 •​​​​ 2009​​

  

 

 

Levi Eshkol
Levi Eshkol (1895-1969) was born in Russia and came to Palestine in 1914. He was among the founders of Deganya Bet and held several economic positions in the Histadrut. After the establishment of the state he managed the Jewish Agency's settlement department, in a period of mass immigration. In 1951 he was appointed minister of agriculture and in 1962 minister of finance. When David Ben Gurion resigned from government in 1963, Mapai appointed Eshkol as his replacement. Eshkol, who was an advocate of compromise, had tried to effect reconciliation between Ben Gurion and Pinchas Lavon in the "unfortunate affair" and he pursued this goal even after Ben Gurion had resigned and clashed with Mapai. Eshkol had his own issues with Ben Gurion, who tried to undermine his position as prime minister. Eventually, in a direct conflict between the two at the Mapai convention in early 1965, Eshkol bested Ben Gurion. He went on to lead the country during the Six-Day War. During the recession, however, the public perceived him as hesitant in comparison with the increasingly popular Moshe Dayan. Today, Eshkol is widely regarded as a leader who ably steered the State of Israel through stormy seas, both economic and defense-related, culminating in the 1967 victory.  1967.
ראש הממשלה לוי אשכול מצביע לכנסת השישית בירושלים
 

 

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​1949 •​ 1951​ •​ ​1955 •​ 1959 •​ 1961 •​​ 1965 •​​ ​1969 •​​ 1973 •​​ 1977 •​​ 1981

 

1984​ •​​ 1988​​​ •​​ 1992​ •​​ 1996​​ •​​ 1999​​ •​​ 2001​​ •​​​​ 2003​​ •​​​ 2006 •​​​​ 2009​​

  

 

 

Abie Nathan
A particularly colorful figure who ran for election to the sixth Knesset was Abie Nathan. Born in Iran, raised in India and a veteran of the Royal Air Force, Abie Nathan volunteered as a pilot in the War of Independence. After serving in the air force and working as an El Al pilot, Nathan opened Café California in Tel Aviv. He decided to run for election in the 1965 elections in order to advocate the importance of reaching peace agreements with the Arab countries. He ran on a one-man ticket called Nes and obtained 2,135 votes.

Abie Nathan continued to promote his agenda. In February 1966, he flew to Egypt in his private plane "Shalom 1", landing in Port Said. A day later he was deported to Israel. Nathan garnered international renown and undertook a capital city tour to campaign for peace. In July 1967, he flew to Egypt again and was, once again, deported. In 1969 he flew to Egypt on a commercial flight and was deported for a third time. After that, Nathan established a radio station that broadcast from a ship in the Mediterranean, which he utilized to campaign for regional peace. In the 1960s and 1980s he promoted talks with the PLO and undertook a hunger strike to protest the prohibition of contact with this organization. Abie Nathan died in 2008.
הטובים לכנסת! רשימתו של אייבי נתן
 

 

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All Elections
​1949 •​ 1951​ •​ ​1955 •​ 1959 •​ 1961 •​​ 1965 •​​ ​1969 •​​ 1973 •​​ 1977 •​​ 1981

 

1984​ •​​ 1988​​​ •​​ 1992​ •​​ 1996​​ •​​ 1999​​ •​​ 2001​​ •​​​​ 2003​​ •​​​ 2006 •​​​​ 2009​​