Israel’s political and social life is still reeling from the impact of two seemingly contradictory developments unforeseen by even the most knowledgeable pundits: first, the end of 30 years of Labor’s hegemony in the 1977 elections, and second, Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem leading to the Camp David agreements and the Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt. That the Israeli leader who signed what has been from Israel’s point of view a very generous peace treaty vis-a-vis Egypt was none other than Menachem Begin has only added to the dazed incomprehension characterizing the reaction of many Israelis to these developments.
The elections that brought Menachem Begin to power have been such a shock to Labor that the wider implications of this upheaval have sometimes gone unnoticed. For Labor’s defeat was not a mere electoral accident. In a country that always had been ruled by Labor-based governments and in which the Labor movement has been the true estab...
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