Rafi (political party)

Israeli Workers List
Hebrew: רשימת פועלי ישראל
Chairman David Ben-Gurion
Founded 14 July 1965
Dissolved 23 January 1968
Split from Mapai
Merged into Israeli Labor Party
Headquarters Tel Aviv, Israel
Ideology Secularism,
Social democracy
Social liberalism
Political position Centre-left
Colours      Blue
Most MKs 10 (1965)
Election symbol

Rafi (Hebrew: רַפִ"י, an acronym for Reshimat Poalei Yisrael (Hebrew: רְשִׁימָת פּוֹעַלֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל), lit. Israeli Workers List) was a Center-left political party in Israel, founded by former Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion in 1965. In 1968 it was one of three parties that merged to form the Israeli Labor Party.


Rafi was founded on 14 July 1965 when David Ben-Gurion led a breakaway of eight MKs from Mapai, the ruling party, taking with him Moshe Dayan, Shimon Peres, Chaim Herzog, and Teddy Kollek, among others.[1] The split had two main causes; the first was the disagreements within Mapai over the Lavon Affair; Ben-Gurion did not agree to declaring Lavon innocent without judicial investigation committee. The second was the formation of the Labor Alignment by an alliance of Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda. The new party's establishment, a merger of two of the largest left-wing parties, was intended to delay planned reforms to the electoral system (i.e. to change from proportional representation to a constituency-based system) that were important to Ben-Gurion.

The party ran for the 1965 elections on a platform of changing the electoral systems. Although Ben-Gurion hoped to displace the Labour Alignment as the leading left-wing party in the Knesset, Rafi won only 10 seats. In early 1967, Rafi and Menachem Begin's Gahal party discussed the idea of forming a center-right coalition to challenge Mapai.[1][2] The party was not included in Levi Eshkol's coalition government until the formation of the government of national unity (in which Dayan replaced Eshkol as defense minister), on the day the Six-Day War started; the right wing Gahal alliance also joined the government 5 June.[3]

On 23 January 1968 the party merged with Ahdut HaAvoda and Mapai to form the Israeli Labor Party and ceased to exist as an independent entity. However, Ben-Gurion could not reconcile himself to the merger with his foes, and broke away from the party to sit as an independent MK for the rest of the Knesset session. Prior to the 1969 elections, he founded another new party, the National List. However, after Ben-Gurion retired from politics in 1970 it fell apart, eventually merging with the Free Centre and Gahal to form Likud.

The name Rafi was briefly resurrected during the ninth Knesset and again during the tenth Knesset when breakaways from Likud named themselves Rafi – National List. The party was later renamed Ometz.

Knesset Members

Knesset Members
Yosef Almogi, David Ben-Gurion, Gideon Ben-Israel, Moshe Dayan, Amos Degani, Hannah Lamdan, Shimon Peres, Yizhar Smilansky
Yosef Almogi, David Ben-Gurion, Mordechai Ben-Porat, Moshe Dayan, Mathilda Guez, Yitzhak Navon, Shimon Peres, Yizhar Smilansky (replaced by Amos Degani), Mordechai Surkis, Tzvi Tzur (replaced by Aryeh Bahir)


  1. 1 2 Colin Shindler (2002). The Land Beyond Promise: Israel, Likud and the Zionist Dream. I.B.Tauris. p. 65. ISBN 9781860647741. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  2. Efraim Karsh (2000). Israel: The First Hundred Years, Volume 3. Cass series--Israeli history, politics, and society. Psychology Press. p. 111. ISBN 9780714649610. ISSN 1368-4795. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  3. "Factional and Government Make-Up of the Sixth Knesset". Knesset. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
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