Election Chronicles > Elections > 1992 Elections

1992 Elections

 

Elections for the thirteenth Knesset were held on June 23, 1992. The government at the time, a coalition of right-wing and religious parties, was led by Likud leader Yitzhak Shamir. Following elections for the twelfth Knesset, Shamir had formed a national unity government with the Labor party. The coalition had fallen apart after the Labor party had tried, under Shimon Peres, to form a narrow coalition with the religious parties.

 

Yitzhak Shamir was under pressure from the right. The Tchiya, Tsomet and Moledet parties claimed that he was not assertive enough in the political domain. This was mainly because he had adopted a policy of restraint during the 1991 Gulf War, electing not to attack Iraq and leaving the US and its western and Arab allies to do the job. Also, his agreement, albeit reluctant, to sit down with a Jordanian-Palestinian delegation at the Madrid summit to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict displeased the right-wing parties and even senior members of the Likud. They sought to outline certain political "red lines" for Shamir. Moreover, Israel was feeling threatened by rising Palestinian terrorism and tension between religious and secular factions.

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Defense
The first intifada, which broke out in December 1987, mainly involved mass public protest rallies. In the early 1990s the situation began to change as Palestinians began to carry out localized attacks. Time after time Israelis were stabbed by single terrorists. In Jerusalem, Bat Yam, Jaffa, and other places, Israelis were murdered by terrorists armed with knives or the like. Though these attacks did have tactical or strategic effect, they did manage to undermine the sense of security of Israeli citizens. The latter even began to protest in outrage. The government, under Yitzhak Shamir, did not manage to handle the wave of attacks effectively and the atmosphere in the country grew darker by the day. Many began to think that the military solution to the intifada was unrealistic and that a diplomatic solution had to be found, i.e., negotiations with the Palestinians. Prime Minister Shamir, who was vehemently opposed to any territorial concession and no less to political concession that would recognize the Palestinians as a national entity, found himself at an impasse. 
אינתפדה? התשובה טרנספר - מולדת
Religion and State

In 1990, after a failed Labor party bid to form a narrow coalition with the religious parties, Shamir's national unity government collapsed. Shamir subsequently headed a narrow coalition comprised of the Likud, right-wing parties and religious parties. Audit Israel controlled the labor and welfare portfolio and Shags held the absorption portfolio, at a time when Israel was experiencing mass immigration from the Soviet Union and Ethiopia. The ultra-Orthodox parties, which represent specific sectors, were perceived as prioritizing the interests of those sectors while the needs of Israelis in general, and the countless new immigrants in particular, grew more urgent.

The fact the government's existence was contingent on the support of the religious parties gave them the opportunity to promote religious legislation as they saw fit: laws dealing with public advertising, public transport on the Sabbath and so forth. At the same time, in the course of 1991, significant irregularities emerged in the transfer of state funds to religious institutions affiliated with parties that were part of the coalition. Riots in the streets of Jerusalem made the atmosphere even more unpleasant. The weakness of the government facilitated, on the other hand, the legislation of two basic laws: the freedom of occupation and human freedom and dignity. Both were fiercely opposed by the religious parties. The chasm between religious and secular appeared vast.

אל תיתקע בשבת סע עם מר"צ
Economy
As the 1992 elections approached, the State of Israel was feeling the economic burden that came with mass immigration from the Soviet Union. The absorption of the immigrants was a significant financial investment. Immigrants were in need of initial material assistance and later of help integrating in the workforce. As a result, unemployment topped 12% in 1991. The economy was in recession, both because of the security issues on both the Palestinian and Lebanese fronts. 1991 was a key year, characterized by huge immigration, security problems, a wave of strikes and a growing sense of bitterness among significant portions of the public in response to exposes of corruption in those affiliated with the establishment. The atmosphere was dark, both socially and economically. The sense that funds were not being correctly utilized and resources were being wasted, even when directed at absorption of immigrants or relief for the needy, exacerbated public disgruntlement. The public also latched onto the issue of "earmarked funds", monies that were allocated to religious bodies and organizations with coalition affiliations in an undeclared and non-transparent manner. Moreover, the political inertia foretold dark days for the Israeli economy. 
 
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​1949 •​ 1951​ •​ ​1955 •​ 1959 •​ ​1961 •​​ 1965 •​​ ​1969 •​​ 1973 •​​ 1977 •​​ 1981
 
1984 •​​ 1988​​​ •​​ 1992 •​​ 1996​​ •​​ 1999​​ •​​ 2001​​ •​​​​ 2003​​ •​​​ 2006 •​​​​ 2009​​

 

  

 

  

Primaries
The preparations undertaken by the two main parties, the Labor and Likud, in advance of elections for the thirteenth Knesset, heralded a new era in internal party politics.  The Likud caucus elected its candidates for the Knesset in a more democratic process than it had in the past. Members of the party chose 35 names, after which they ranked them in groups of seven. Until then, the Likud had used an organizing committee, which was both narrow and non-transparent, to decide who the party's candidates for the Knesset would be, and the order in which they would be ranked on the party's list. While the new system was somewhat closer to primaries, it still left room for maneuvering.
The Labor party, on the other hand, decided to let the entire party membership elect the candidates. This was the first time in the history of the state that a party held open primaries to elect the party's candidates for the role of prime minister and members of Knesset. The party determined that a candidate had to receive 40% of the votes in the first round in order to become the candidate for prime minister. In undecided cases, a second round would be held between the two candidates who led in the first round.
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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​​

 

  

 

  

Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin (1922-1995) was born in Tel Aviv. He joined the Palmach and commanded the Harel Brigade during the War of Independence. In 1964 he was appointed chief of staff and did much to fortify the IDF, given the threat posed by Arab countries. He served as chief of staff during the Six Day War, after which he was appointed Israeli ambassador to the US. IN 1973 he joined Golda Meir's government as minister of labor. After Golda's resignation, Rabin beat Peres in internal elections for leadership of the party and was appointed prime minister. In 1976 he resigned following a crisis with the Mafdal and the exposure of an illegal foreign currency account held by his wife. In 1984 he was appointed minister of defense in the national unity government under Peres as prime minister and he continued to fulfill this role under Shamir, after the rotation. In advance of the 1992 elections, he once again beat Shimon Peres in internal elections and led the party to victory. IN 1993 he supported the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians and in 1994 he signed a peace treaty with Jordan. In 1995 he signed another agreement with the Palestinians. He was harshly criticized by the right, which held violent demonstrations in protest. On November 4, 1995, after a peace rally in Tel Aviv, Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir. 
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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​​

 

  

 

  

Moshe Badash and Pikanti
Moshe Badash, who established a party called "Pikanti" was one of the more original and unusual candidates for the thirteenth Knesset.  Badash, who was in the meat industry, gained notoriety for his aggressive and well publicized campaign against the tax authorities, whom he claimed were perpetrating injustice. He named his list after his factory, which was well known throughout the country, Badash having opened a chain of stores nationwide to market his products. Moshe Badash also wrote two books in which he vocally criticized the legal establishment and the tax authorities. The first was about income tax and was entitled "The Leeches".  The second was a critique of attorney general at the time, Yosef Charish. Badash called the publishing house he set up to distribute his books "Am Avud" (lost nation).
As part of his tireless advertising campaign, Badash decided to run for the thirteenth Knesset, though some were convinced that he intended to work to correct the injustices he so vocally decried. One way or another, when he tried to include advertisements for meat products in Pikanti election propaganda, he was prohibited from doing so. Badash obtained 3,750 votes, not enough to win him a seat in the Knesset.


 

 

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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​​