Eighteenth government of Israel

The eighteenth government of Israel was formed by Menachem Begin on 20 June 1977, following the May 1977 elections. It was the first government in Israeli political history led by a right-wing party, with the coalition consisting of Begin's Likud (which included Ariel Sharon's Shlomtzion, which had merged into Likud shortly after the election), the National Religious Party and Agudat Yisrael. Begin's government also contained Moshe Dayan who had been elected to the Knesset on the Alignment's list. Following Dayan's acceptance of a place in the cabinet, he was expelled from the party and sat as an independent MK, though he only remained in the cabinet for four months.

First Begin Cabinet

18th Cabinet of Israel
Date formed20 June 1977 (1977-06-20)
Date dissolved5 August 1981 (1981-08-05)
People and organisations
Head of stateEphraim Katzir (until 1978)
Yitzhak Navon (from 1978)
Head of governmentMenachem Begin
Member partiesLikud
Dash (24 October 1977–14 September 1978)
Democratic Movement (from 14 September 1978)
National Religious Party
Agudat Yisrael
Status in legislatureCoalition government
Opposition partyAlignment
Opposition leaderShimon Peres
Legislature term(s)9th Knesset
Predecessor17th Cabinet of Israel
Successor19th Cabinet of Israel

Begin initially held four portfolios in addition to the position of Prime Minister whilst he negotiated with Dash, which had won 15 seats, making it the third largest party in the Knesset. Negotiations were concluded in October 1977, and Dash joined the government, taking the four portfolios plus a Deputy Prime Minister position (marking the first time the country had more than one Deputy PM). However, after its collapse in 1978 all its MKs except Yigael Yadin left the government.

Defense Minister Ezer Weizman lost his job in May 1980 following confrontations with Begin and Ariel Sharon. Following the 1978 South Lebanon conflict Weizman proposed forming a national unity government with the Alignment to stimulate the peace process. The idea was dismissed by Begin, leading to Weizman criticising Likud for being stubborn and uncompromising. Following a dispute with Sharon over settlements in the occupied territories, Weizman considered establishing a new party with Moshe Dayan and was expelled from Likud.[1] After a spell out of politics, Weizman founded a new party, Yahad, and returned to the Knesset following the 1984 elections, whilst Dayan founded Telem.

Finance Minister Yigal Hurvitz also left the government following disagreements within Likud; in January 1981 he and two other MKs left Likud and set up Rafi – National List. Hurvitz later defected again to Telem.

The government was in office until 5 August 1981 when the nineteenth government took office following the 1981 elections.

Cabinet members edit

Position Person Party
Prime Minister Menachem Begin Likud
Deputy Prime Minister Simha Erlich Likud
Yigael Yadin (from 24/10/1977) Dash, Democratic Movement,
Minister of Agriculture Ariel Sharon Likud
Minister of Communications Menachem Begin (until 24/10/1977) Likud
Meir Amit (24/10/1977 - 15/9/1978) Dash
Yitzhak Moda'i (15/1/1979 - 22/12/1980) Likud
Yoram Aridor (from 5/1/1981) Likud
Minister of Defense Ezer Weizman (until 28/5/1980) Likud
Menachem Begin (after 28/5/1980) Likud
Minister of Education, Culture and Sport Zevulun Hammer National Religious Party
Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Yitzhak Moda'i Likud
Minister of Finance Simha Erlikh (until 7/11/1977) Likud
Yigal Hurvitz (7/11/1979 - 13/1/1981) Likud
Yoram Aridor (from 21/1/1981) Likud
Minister of Foreign Affairs Moshe Dayan (until 23 October 1979) Independent
Menachem Begin (23/10/1979 - 10/3/1980) Likud
Yitzhak Shamir (from 10/3/1980) Likud
Minister of Health Eliezer Shostak Likud
Minister of Housing and Construction Gideon Patt (until 15/1/1979) Likud
David Levy (from 15/1/1979) Likud
Minister of Immigrant Absorption David Levy Likud
Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Yigal Hurvitz (until 1/10/1978) Likud
Gideon Patt (from 15/1/1979) Likud
Minister of Internal Affairs Yosef Burg National Religious Party
Minister of Justice Menachem Begin (until 24/10/1977) Likud
Shmuel Tamir (24/10/1977 - 5/8/1980) Dash, Democratic Movement
Moshe Nissim (from 13/8/1980) Likud
Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Menachem Begin (until 24/10/1977) Likud
Yisrael Katz (from 24/10/1977) Not an MK
Minister of Religions Aharon Abuhatzira National Religious Party
Minister of Transportation Menachem Begin (until 24/10/1977) Likud
Meir Amit (24/10/1977 - 15/9/1978) Dash
Haim Landau (from 15/1/1979) Not an MK 1
Minister without Portfolio Haim Landau (until 15/1/1979) Not an MK 1
Moshe Nissim (10/1/1978 - 13/8/1980) Likud
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Yoram Aridor (until 28/12/1980) Likud
Deputy Minister of Defense Mordechai Tzipori Likud
Deputy Minister of Finance Yehezkel Flomin (until 30/7/1979) Likud
Deputy Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Yitzhak Peretz (until 15/1/1977) Likud

1 Although Landau was not an MK during the ninth Knesset, he had previously been an MK for Likud.

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