Israeli legislative election, 1981

Elections for the 10th Knesset
30 June 1981
Party Leader % Seats ±
Likud Menachem Begin 37.1% 48 +5
Alignment Shimon Peres 36.6% 47 +15
Mafdal Yosef Burg 4.9% 6 -6
Agudat Yisrael Avraham Yosef Shapira 3.7% 4 0
Hadash Meir Vilner 3.4% 4 -1
Tehiya Yuval Ne'eman 2.3% 3 New
Tami Aharon Abuhatzira 2.3% 3 New
Telem Moshe Dayan 1.6% 2 New
Shinui Amnon Rubinstein 1.5% 2
Ratz Shulamit Aloni 1.4% 1 0
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.
Prime Minister before Prime Minister after
Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin

Elections for the tenth Knesset were held in Israel on 30 June 1981. Despite last minute polls suggesting a victory for Shimon Peres's Alignment,[1] Menachem Begin's Likud won by just one seat, which was awarded due to Likud having just 400 more surplus votes than the Alignment.[2] Voter turnout was 78.5%.[3]


Party Votes % Seats +/−
Likud 1718,94137.148+3
Alignment 1 4708,53636.647+15
National Religious Party 2 595,2324.96−6
Agudat Yisrael72,3123.740
Telem 330,6001.62New
Ratz 427,9211.410
Poalei Agudat Yisrael17,0900.90−1
Independent Liberals11,7640.60−1
United Arab List11,5900.60−1
Development and Peace10,8230.60−1
Left Camp of Israel8,6910.40−2
Arab Brotherhood List8,3040.40New
List for Aliyah6,9920.40New
One Israel3,7260.20New
Arab Citizens' List2,5960.10New
Pensioners' List (Led by Miriam Gehatya)2,4040.10New
Unity Party1,2930.10New
Tent Movement5450.00New
Abolish Income Tax5030.00New
Youth Movement4120.00New
Council to Rescue the Homeland4050.00New
Initiative - Independents Movement4000.00New
Invalid/blank votes17,243
Source: Nohlen et al.

1 Two MKs defected from Likud to the Alignment.

2 Haim Drukman left the National Religious Party and sat as an independent MK.

3 Telem split into Ometz and the Movement for the Renewal of Social Zionism.

4 Ratz joined the Alignment but then broke away again.

5 Two MKs left the National Religious Party and formed Gesher – Zionist Religious Centre before returning to the NRP two weeks later.

The Tenth Knesset

The nineteenth government was formed by Menachem Begin on 5 August 1981, including Likud, the National Religious Party, Agudat Yisrael, Tami and Telem, and had 17 ministers. Tehiya joined the coalition on 26 August, upping the total to 18 ministers. Likud's Menachem Savidor was appointed Speaker of the Knesset. One of the government's first acts was to pass a bill annexing the Golan Heights. It also oversaw the Lebanon War and the subsequent Sabra and Shatila massacre, which resulted in Defence Minister Ariel Sharon losing his job. The country was also hit by several economic crises, including the collapse of most of the banking sector and hyper-inflation. Meanwhile, the religious parties (NRP and Agudat Israel) managed to pass a law banning state airline El Al from flying on Shabbat.

Yitzhak Shamir formed the twentieth government on 10 October 1983 after Begin had resigned for health reasons. He included the same parties in his coalition, but with 20 ministers. The next elections were held on 23 July 1984.


  1. Labour leads on eve of Israeli poll The Guardian, 30 June 1981
  2. Rightward surplus votes Haaretz, 5 December 2012
  3. Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume I, p126 ISBN 0-19-924958-X

External links

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