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The Great Israeli Revolution of 77'

Updated: May 30

On May 17, Israel witnessed one of the biggest and most important elections in the history of the state. The outcome of these elections completely changed the Israeli political map and affects our lives even to this day.


So let's do a quick recap of what is famously known as HaMahapah (The Revolution)


Some background

After Golda Meir retired in 1974, former IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin became Prime Minister, after beating Shimon Peres in the race. Peres, who was known for losing many political races throughout his career, didn't take the loss easily and didn't give Rabin an easy time during his tenure.


We won't bore you with the details, but Rabin faced many issues during his first term as Prime Minister. High inflation, public corruption incidents, and public criticism were just some of the issues he had to face.


It was clear, this government wasn't going to last.

The Brilliant Exercise

After two ministers decided not to participate in a Motion of no Confidence vote, Rabin decided to seize the opportunity and fire them, thus the elections for the ninth Knesset were set for May 17th, 1977. The Knesset was scattered, and Rabin's government turned into a provisional government until the elections would take place.


This action was named HaTargil HaMavrik (Brilliant Exercise) by Rabin and his associates, because of the fact that a provisional government cannot face a Motion of no confidence. This way, Rabin believed he would be able to keep his seat in the next government after the upcoming elections.


Well, as you probably already understood, this Targil didn't really turn out the way he had hoped.



The Mahapah

In March of that year, Israeli journalist Dan Margalit revealed that Rabin's wife, Leah, had a bank account in the U.S. Israeli Currency Laws of the time forbade having foreign bank accounts, and Rabin was forced to resign. Shimon Peres took his place as the Ma'arah's candidate in the race.


The Likud, led by Menahem Begin, felt that they can win this race, and the battle between these two parties took way. Begin went all in, and even a severe heart attack at the beginning of April didn't stop him. He recuperated quickly and even managed to participate in a televised debate with rival Shimon Peres before the elections.


On the night of May 17th, 1977, TV broadcaster Haim Yavin showed up on the screen and coined the famous one-word opener that became famous forever - "Ladies and gentlemen, MAHAPAH".


After 29 years in command, the Israeli left suffered a major defeat, and the right-winged Likud party took power. Begin led Israel to many different new paths, including signing the peace treaty with Egypt and the new financial reforms, that took over the western world in the 1980s.

So, as you see, our Israeli political turmoil of the past few years may seem unprecedented, but the fact is, Israel has seen its share of political shenanigans over the years, some even bigger than today.


One thing is for sure, it is never boring in this country!

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