MAPAM


MAPAM (Hebrew acronym for Mifleget ha-Po'alim ha-Me'uhe det – The United Workers' Party), an Israeli Zionist-Socialist party, founded in 1948, when Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir merged with *Aḥdut ha-Aavodah–Po'alei Zion.

In its early days Mapam advocated radical socialist positions, based on class struggle and links with international socialism, but at the same time it also called for the concentration of the majority of the Jewish people in Ereẓ Israel. Its declaredaims were the achievement of socialism in Israel through the democratic hegemony of the labor movement; the establishment of publicly owned enterprises; communal land settlement in the form of kibbutzim; state ownership of the land; cooperation with private capital while condemning all forms of profiteering and "parasitism"; a planned economy to ensure full employment, and the attainment of an egalitarian society.

In 1951 it was the main force behind the violent seamen's strike in the ZIM shipping company, which was viewed by many as an attempted revolt against the *Mapai establishment.

In the early period Mapam also advocated a pro-Soviet policy. Nevertheless, during the 1952 *Slansky Trial in Prague, at which the Zionists were accused of espionage and subversion in the Communist countries, a prominent Mapam member, Mordechai Oren, was arrested and received a 15-year prison sentence. Despite the antisemitic flavor of the trial in Prague, and the Jewish doctors' trial in Moscow, the pro-Soviet group within Mapam advocated that the party support the position of the Soviet Union. In 1954, a small pro-Soviet group within Mapam, led by Moshe *Sneh, broke away from the party, and joined the Israel Communist Party (MAKI). In the same year Ahdut ha-Avodah–Po'alei Zion decided to break away from Mapam as well and reestablish an independent party. The background to this decision was criticism of the pro-Soviet line and Mapam's decision to accept Arab members into its ranks. Mapam advocated cooperation with the Arab working class and the belief that Israel could achieve peace with its neighbors by integrating into the Middle East. Mapam continued to run as an independent list until 1969, and then in the elections to the Seventh to the Eleventh Knessets ran within the framework of the Alignment together with the *Israel Labor Party.

Mapam was not a member of the government until after the elections to the Third Knesset in 1955, but then was a member of all the Mapai and Labor Party-led governments until 1977. Both of Mapam's historic leaders, Me'ir *Ya'ari and Ya'akov *Ḥazan, supported its entering the Alignment with the Labor Party, which greatly dampened what remained of the party's radical zeal. This trend strengthened after the elderly leaders retired from membership in the Knesset in 1974, after the elections to the Eighth Knesset. In 1974 Mapam Minister of Health Victor *Shem-Tov proposed, together with Aharon *Yariv of the Labor Party, a formula for the holding of negotiations with Palestinians, who would recognize Israel's right to exist, be willing to live in peace with Israel, and refrain from performing acts of terror. However, the Yariv–Shem-Tov formula was not accepted at the time by the Government, though almost 20 years later it constituted the basis for Israel's willingness to sign the Declaration of Principles with the PLO.

Following the elections to the Eleventh Knesset in 1984, when the Labor Party decided to enter a National Unity Government with the Likud, based on parity and a rotation in the premiership, Mapam decided to leave the Alignment, but only after the coalition agreement had been signed. Mapam ran independently in the elections to the Twelfth Knesset, and then joined with the Civil Rights Movement, and *Shinui in establishing *Meretz, in which it constituted the socialist component. In February 1997 the three components of Meretz joined into a single party, and Mapam ceased to exist as a separate party. Meretz was a member of the government formed by Yitzhak *Rabin in 1992, in which Mapam's Ya'ir *Tsaban served as minister of immigration absorption. Though Tsaban exerted little influence on the Government's policies in the sphere of economics and the peace process, he was active in the spheres of religion and state and social issues. In the years 1994–97 Ḥayyim Oron of Mapam was treasurer of the Histadrut, after running in the 1994 Histadrut elections on Haim *Ramon's Ḥayyim Ḥadashim ba-Histadrut list.

Traditionally the party's power came from the Kibbutz ha-Arẓi kibbutz movement, on the one hand, and organized urban groups, on the other. Until the 1980s it was the first group that was dominant. Later on the latter gained the upper hand. Mapam's gradual loss of strength was a function of the general deterioration of the Left in Israel.

Mapam's secretary generals since its foundation were Me'ir Ya'ari, 1948–71; Me'ir Talmi, 1973–79; Victor Shem-Tov, 1979–85; Eleazar Granot, 1985–97.

Its Knesset representation was as follows: First Knesset – 19; Second Knesset – 15; Third Knesset to Fifth Knesset – 9; Sixth Knesset – 10; Seventh Knesset – 9; Eighth to Eleventh Knesset within the Alignment: Eighth Knesset – 8, Ninth Knesset – 4; Tenth Knesset – 7; Eleventh Knesset – 6; Twelfth Knesset – 3; Thirteenth to Fourteenth Knesset within Meretz: Thirteenth Knesset – 4; Fourteenth Knesset – 3.

Until 2005 Mapam published a daily newspaper, *Al ha-Mishmar, which closed down for financial reasons, as well as a weekly in Arabic, Al Marsad.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Y. Amitai, Aḥvat Ammim be-Mivḥan: Mapam 1945–48, Emdot be-Sugyat Arviyei Ereẓ Yisrael (1988); S. Paz, Bein Ideologya le-Pragmatism: Tefisoteiha ve-Emdoteiha ha-Mediniyyot veha-Bitḥoniyyot shel Mapam ba-Shanim 194854 (1993); V. Shem-Tov, Mifleget ha-Po'alim ha-Me'uḥedetSof ha-Derekh (1994).

[Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.