National Union

   A coalition of right-wing political parties that ran for the first time in the May 1999 elections for the 15th Knesset, winning four seats. It was comprised of Moledet, the New Herut, and Tekuma and headed by former Likud member of the Knesset and cabinet minister Ze'ev Binyamin Begin. Opposition to further territorial concessions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip was the major plank of its policy platform. Its platform provided, in part,
   The Land of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish People, from the authority of its Torah and heritage, home of the returnees to Zion. The faction will act to encourage immigration [see ALIYA] and absorption and strengthen Jewish settlement in all areas of the Land of Israel. The faction will aim for the establishment of Jewish sovereignty over every part of the Land of Israel under our control. Jerusalem, eternal capital, will be completely kept under Israeli sovereignty. The faction will act diligently for the strengthening and development of Jewish settlement in all of its parts. The right of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel is inseparably connected to the right to peace and security. The Wye, Hebron and Oslo agreements, that violate this basic right, are not bringing peace but rather bloodshed. No area in the Land of Israel will be transferred to foreign rule, including the Golan Heights. The faction rejects the claim of the "right of return" of the Arab population to the Land of Israel. The State of Israel shall strive to reach peace agreements with all of its neighbors but not at the expense of the security of the state and its residents. . . . Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. As such it will protect equal rights for all its citizens and residents. The standing of the legislative authority will be strengthened and the independence of the judiciary will be honored. The faction will advance the eternal values of the Torah of Israel in the life of the nation. The faction will maintain the status quo on matters of religion and state that are meant to insure the Jewish character of the State. The addition of legislation in these matters will not be done except with broad national agreement.
   The National Union surprised many observers by taking 7 mandates in the 2003 election to the 16th Knesset. It joined the governing coalition formed by Ariel Sharon, with Avigdor Lieberman serving as minister of transportation and Benyamin Elon as minister of tourism. However, the party left the government on 4 June 2004, after Lieberman and Elon were dismissed from the cabinet in a dispute over the proposed evacuation of settlers as part of Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan. In 2005, the ranks of the National Union Party were strengthened by the incorporation of the two-man National Religious Zionist Renewal Party created by the defection of Efraim (Effie) Eitam and Yitzhak Levy from the National Religious Party (NRP) in a dispute over the NRP's policy response to Sharon's Gaza disengagement plan. Leaders of the National Union worked to form a right-wing coalition in preparation for the 28 March 2006 election to the 17th Knesset. On the eve of the election, a merger was completed with the NRP. It ran on a joint platform that proclaimed "The Land of Israel, for the People of Israel, according to the Torah of Israel." However, the joint National Union-NRP list won only nine seats in the 17th Knesset.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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