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Home > News & Analysis > Analysis
Party Profile: Labor
IMEU, Feb 10, 2009

Current Labor Party chairman Ehud Barak narrowly defeated Ami Ayalon to lead the party in 2007, and currently serves as Israel's Defense Minister. (Maan Images)

Party Chairman: Ehud Barak

Established: 1968

Current Knesset seats: 13

Official website: (Hebrew only)

Official Knesset page: Labor-Meimad

On the issue of relations with the Palestinians, Labor's platform closely resembles that of Kadima. Labor also mentions the need for a return to the Roadmap for Peace and a negotiated agreement to establish a Palestinian state.

Labor goes farther than Kadima by stating that the final status would be near the pre-1967 borders. Yet, Labor's platform also indicates a willingness to act unilaterally, calling for completion of the separation wall, and retaining main settlement blocs and Jerusalem. This would, in fact, stray far from the pre-1967 borders and allow Israel to retain 87 percent of its settler population.

Labor party leaders have held the top positions in Israel's Defense Ministry since 2006, and under the leadership of first Amir Peretz and now Ehud Barak, Israel has launched a major war against Lebanon and initiated a blockade on the Gaza Strip that Israeli and international human rights organizations have characterized as collective punishment of the territory's 1.5 million Palestinians. Barak also oversaw the 22-day war in Gaza that Israel launched on December 27, 2008, which left over 1,300 Palestinians dead and caused enormous damage to Gaza's civilian infrastructure.

Key Party Members


Ehud Barak. Official Website. A former prime minister of Israel and current Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak has frequently called for a re-invasion of the Gaza Strip, has ordered the closure of crossings into Gaza and reductions in fuel supplies, and has severely limited imports of humanitarian aid - a policy which Israeli and international human rights organizations have deemed collective punishment of Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinians. Read more.


Amir Peretz. Official Knesset profile. A former Defense Minister, he is currently a member of Knesset. A prominent union leader who was born in Morocco, Peretz enjoys some standing among Palestinian citizens of Israel. Peretz's resignation following his failed leadership during Israel's 2006 war in Lebanon, however, has led to a decline in his general popularity and diminishes his prospects of reaching a leadership position in the future. Read more.


Ami Ayalon. Official Knesset profile. A member of the Knesset, he is the former head of Shin Bet, Israel's general security services. In July 2003, Ayalon and Palestinian academic Sari Nusseibeh signed a statement of principles for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which would effectively nullify the Palestinian right of return to their homes and would not address the second-class citizenship of Palestinians inside Israel. Read more.

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