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Action Yisrael

Action Yisrael

פעולה ישראל
nameModern Hebrew
LeaderShaul Frum
FounderMichel Amash
FoundedMay 24, 2009 (2009-05-24)
Preceded byMarch for Yisrael
HeadquartersYerushalayim, Yisrael
NewspaperAction News Daily
Student wingStudents for Action and Progress
IdeologyCentrism
Upper-middle-income family interests
Masorti-interests
Growth-interests
Opposition to Green liberalism
Internal Factions:
Classical liberalism
Ordoliberalism
Economic liberalism
Commuter-interests
Political positionCenter-to-Center-right
ReligionMasorti-interests
Colors     Light gray
Seats in the Royal Knesset
17 / 142

Action Yisrael, also commonly called AY, Action Now, or simply the Grays (colloquially), is a contemporary centrist, upper-middle-income family interests, and Traditional-sector interests secondary political party in Yisrael. Action Yisrael is apart of the AfY-led United Center Bloc, the chief opposition to the ruling Conservative-led Right Bloc government.

Before 2020, AY was apart of the Right Bloc (2018-2020); however, in the run-up to the 2020 elections, it defected to the AfY-led United Center Bloc faction. During the second Feldman term (2016-2020), the AY (which had cross-endorsed Feldman for President in 2016) was granted the Transportation and Economic Development portfolios in Cabinet, filled by AY members Aryeh Leib Hurwitz and Ayelet Shakir, respectively. However, after the 2020 elections, it has no Cabinet posts.

The party holds 17 seats in Knesset. Its political base is largely confined to the middle-income-heavy suburban areas throughout the country. It has traditional strongholds in the suburban towns that ring Ashkelon, Modiin, Dervaylik, and Beersheva. It is associated with the newspaper Zman Yisrael. Through their media assets, the party has high-profile support from several members of the Kalian family.

Platform and philosophy

The party is the successor of the now-defunct March for Yisrael, an earlier centrist, middle-income-interests political platform that felt the Conservatives were too restrained with social and transportation funding, while also rejecting the pro-tax Con Libs as too eager to expand such funding but at the cost of higher or new taxes on a middle strata that already felt over-burdened.

The party's predecessor had had limited political success, able to elect just a few town and city councilmen and legislators to the District councils. Currently, under Shaul Frum, Action Yisrael is considered a right-leaning centrist political party whose policies are at the very center of the political mainstream.

It is a party that contains a number of radical centrists and uses its swing vote position to extract concessions from either governing party it is in coalition with, or if in no coalition, to earn its MK bloc's support, much to the chagrin of the majority-party Blues and Golds. It is heavily focused on economic and fiscal issues; it permits its members to vote their conscience on foreign and national security. While most of its MKs tend to lean right on foreign policy, it has several members whose views put them in voting alignment with the left-wing of the Constitutional Liberals. It is fiercely protective of the Yarden Accords (with many of its political base being aging veterans of the Fourth West Scipian War) and engages in chronic spats - often public - with the Northern League over the issue, as the far-right has several open Yarden Revisionists within its ranks.

Action Yisrael routinely advocates for more expanded welfare and transportation budgets, including the reduction of gas and congestion taxes as well as lower tolls. On welfare, the party's mainstream clique pushes for more family and education tax reductions and public subsidies.

The party is also the official political home for the "Traditional" sector of Yisraeli society - Yisraeli Jews who publicly and privately follow religious law and practice but often are still lax or not fully observant in their practice in the eyes of halacha.

History

Origins

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, high growth rates from the dotcom bubble and increases in income inequality accelerated by the emerging Knowledge economy led to a sense of political wilderness for many young, well-off upper-middle-income families. Many of this cohort were not strictly religious outside of the public minimums, and they focused on adjusting to white-collar professions and suburban developments outside the main cities. Several corruption scandals in both parties at around this time fed into the cynicism and mistrust of either the Conservatives or Con-Libs.

Between 2003-2008, the politically active of this cohort formed the March for Yisrael, but it sputtered and never really got off the ground. With funding from prominent backers like the Kalians and seasoned political consultants, Action Yisrael was imagined, a reboot for the defunct March.

It quickly contested a number of seats where demographics favored its party platform, and recruited former or up-and-coming moderates from several parties to run and fill out its Knesset slate. Aryeh Lieb Hurwitz, a former moderate suburban Constitutional Liberal Member of Knesset, helmed the party's first slate in 2010, where it won 3 seats and tied for the 5th largest party in its first showing.

In office

The party had emerged in strong opposition to the pro-metropolitan and anti-growth polities of Con-Lib President Eitan Herzog, and generally declined to support his agenda in the last two years of his administration. On the other hand, despite forays from the Conservatives, the Action Yisrael refused to join the Conservative majority while it partnered with Torah Achdus, who AY viewed as too religious and opposed to its suburban agenda. Instead, the Hurwitz-led caucus in the first several years of its existence focused itself as a radically centrist swing vote.

It endorsed the Con-Libs in 2012, viewing Conservative nominee Noah Feldman as too conservative and anti-welfare.

In the midterm backlash to Feldman in 2014, AY entered talks and agreed to join the small Con-Lib majority, with Hurwitz and another AY MK given seats on the Knesset Appropriations Committee. The party continued to gain seats, except for a two-seat backslide in the 2016 presidential and Knesset elections. In a reversal, it endorsed Feldman's 2016 re-election, as the party leadership felt that Feldman had been a more friendly advocate for its suburban agenda than initially expected.

In 2018, the party joined the Right Bloc majority in Knesset for the 48th session of Knesset. This majority turned out to be very fractious, with right-wing populists and nationalists, traditional conservatives, and the Chareidi clique (who had a supply and confidence with the Conservatives) all engaged in infighting and wide disagreements over policy in the last two years of Feldman's tenure.

When Yitzchok Katz became the Conservative 2020 nominee for president, he was viewed as too staunchly right-wing for the AY's taste, and tired of the pettiness and factionalism in the Right Bloc majoritarian caucus, struck out once the Alternative for Yisrael announced its emergence from a leftward-tacking Con-Lib party under Yosef Kaduri.

After 2020, the AY picked up moderate gains with the AfY and serve in the chief opposition in the United Center Bloc.

Organization and hierarchy

Election results and current representation

Current representation

The AY currently have 17 MKs in the Royal Knesset. It is apart of the minority.

When it was apart of the majority, Action Now member Aryeh Leib Hurwitz held the Cabinet post of Minister of Transportation and Ayelet Shakir was the Minister of Economic Development.

Election results

Royal Knesset
Election Leader Seats won +/− Rank Majority
2020 Shaul Frum
17 / 142
Increase 5 #4 Minority
2018 Shaul Frum
12 / 142
Increase 5 #4 Majority
2016 Shaul Frum
7 / 142
Decrease 2 #5 Minority
2014 Aryeh Leib Hurwitz
9 / 142
Increase 4 #4 Majority
2012 Aryeh Leib Hurwitz
5 / 142
Increase 2 #4 Minority
2010 Aryeh Leib Hurwitz
3 / 142
N/A Tied (#5) Minority

International affiliation and criticism