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Yadin Dissolves His Party

February 20, 1981
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— The reformist political party founded by Deputy Premier Yigael Yadin, which surged to prominence by winning 15 seats in the 1977 Knesset elections, was dissolved by its founder yesterday. The 63-year-old internationally prominent archaeologist and former Chief of Staff of Israel’s armed forces said the party, originally known as the Democratic Movement for Change, would not stand for election when Israelis go to the polls again next June 30.

Yadin said on a television interview that he had come to the conclusion that he himself was not a “political asset” but he insisted that his movement had accomplished much of what it set out to do–a claim many Israelis might dispute. “I can look the 200,000 people who voted for us (in 1977) in the eye and say we did great things,” Yadin said.

Among them he mentioned its role in ending the 30-year rule of the Labor Party which was defeated by Premier Menachem Begin’s Likud four years ago; social and legal legislation it introduced in the Knesset; and the help it gave Begin, after joining his coalition, in carrying through the peace process with Egypt which was opposed by many in Begin’s own Herut party.


Yadin admitted that his party had made mistakes, among them the inclusion of the “Change” faction, more reformist than its other constituents, which Yadin contended was “naive.” The “Change” faction broke away about two years ago to form an independent opposition party, Shinouy.

The Democratic Movement, which remained in the Cabinet, was further reduced in size by individual defections and its electoral constituency faded away. Public opinion polls in recent months have indicated that the DM would not win a single Knesset seat in the next elections.

Its three Cabinet ministers were consistently voted down by Likud hardliners on issues in which they opposed government policies such as the proliferation of settlements in the occupied territories and new concessions to the religious bloc. Yadin’s movement also failed in its 1977 campaign promise to reform

Israel’s proportional representation electoral system in favor of a more representative system.

Yadin ended his political swan song on a humorous note. He told the TV interviewer that at lectures he gave in the U.S. he was always introduced as “a great chief of staff, a great archaeologist and a great politician.” He observed that “it’s true that all three are connected with the soil. Soldiers dig trenches, archaeologists excavate and as a politician, I find myself now deep in the ground.”

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