Constitutional Liberal Party
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Constitutional Liberal Party of Yisrael
|המפלגה הליברלית הקונסטיטוציוני של מדינת ישראל name||Modern Hebrew|
|Member of Knesset and Leader of the Knesset Caucus||Oren Saddi|
|Founded||October 26, 1922|
(de facto 1920)
|Dissolved||April 27, 2021|
|Preceded by||Constitutional Liberals|
(circa 1880s - 1922)
(1904 - 1922)
|Succeeded by||National Liberals|
Party of the Left
|Newspaper||Liberal Weekly Political Intelligencer|
|Student wing||Liberal Students for Yisrael|
|Seats in the Royal Knesset|
13 / 142(Before dissolution, as of April 27, 2021)
The Constitutional Liberal Party of Yisrael, also commonly called Con-Libs or the Golds (colloquially), was a contemporary centrist and center-left third party - formerly a major - political party in Yisrael, having been the second-largest party and chief loyal opposition in the country's de facto two-party system in Yisraeli politics, opposed to the governing right-wing Royalist Conservatives from 1922-2020. In 2018, the Liberals elected the first Yisraeli Christian, Michael Aone, to lead a major Yisraeli Zionist party.
Since 2020, the Con-Libs were knocked from their major-party status by the split-off/upstart Alternative for Yisrael, led by former moderate Constitutional Liberal MK Reuven Goldschmidt of Modiin. In the 2020 elections, an historic first three-way race between the Conservatives, AfY, and the Con-Libs led to the Con-Libs' massive defeat and fall into third-party status, losing more than half of its Knesset seats and scores of other local and gubernatorial seats to the AfY, its partner AY, and the Conservatives and their allies the Torah Achdus party.
In April 2021, the nearly 99-year-old political party split and dissolved itself.
Platform and philosophy
The Con-Libs considered themselves Yisrael's "leading" centrist and liberal political party, and the most effective platform for Chiloni- and Masorti-interests to be represented politically. The Liberals looked to both homegrown Liberal Zionist ideas as well as inspiration abroad from policy perspectives from the global center-left anchored in countries such as Arthurista and North Ottonia, while being careful to say that such ideas are "adjusted to Yisraeli life and norms."
The party's core tenets included safeguarding the constitutional limits on the monarchy, including the 1952 Royal Reform Acts, the latter being strongly opposed by the Yisraeli right. The party broadly supported increased social spending, especially on private healthcare subsidies for the poor and lower-middle-income, new national parks, and charity funds. The party, as the leading political platform for the Chiloni sectors, supported paring back or relaxing enforcement of religious law. Many in the party supported decriminalizing a number of illegal or restricted drugs.
After the disastrous 2020 results, some in the party have called for a name-change, dissolution into separate liberal and left-wing parties, a possible merger with the equally-devastated Alliance of Greens, Seculars, and Workers, or a radical reorganization of leadership and policy stances. In the end, the party's activists opted for a dissolution.
Recent platform changes
In the run-up to the 2018 Knesset midterm elections, the Con-Libs attempted to poach voters from the centrist middle-income-oriented Action Yisrael and religious right-wing Torah Achdus party by focusing on transportation issues, such as opposing new tolls and supporting a higher highway construction budget, as well as increasing the kollel stipend for largely-Chareidi Torah learners. The party had mixed success with this strategy: on the one hand, the Con-Libs narrowly flipped two swing seats held by the Torah Achdus party by attracting a modest increase in religious voters, but lost several of its own marginal seats to Action Yisrael, which won a record 12-seat bloc in the new Knesset, in part by flipping several Con-Lib suburban districts in the Central, Western, and Eastern Districts' metropolitan areas.
On April 27, 2021, after months of ferocious intraparty infighting between far left populists and establishment-oriented liberal-left activists dating to the party's historic losses and unprecedented electoral collapse in the 2020 presidential, Knesset, District, and local elections as well as the departure of the party's moderate-conservative suburban flank to the Alternative for Yisrael in November 2019, the two left-wing factions agreed to dissolve the party, sell its assets, and go their separate ways.
Organization and hierarchy
Election results and current representation
The last party leader was Oren Saddi (CL-Netanya), a more left-leaning figure and top ally of Chairman Michael Aone, who took over in a party leadership race on February 4th, 2020. The caucus had 13 Members of Knesset as of its last day existence on April 27, 2021, down from 32 going into the 2020 elections and 42 at the start of the 48th session of Knesset.
Former Knesset caucus leader Yaakov Luzzatto (CL-Dervaylik), who formerly served as the Leader of HRM Opposition from January 11th, 2016 until February 3rd, 2020, was ousted by Saddi in a 9-5 vote after the swearing in of the 49th session of Knesset.
|2020||Oren Saddi1 (2020-2021)
Yaakov Luzzatto1 (2019-2020)
14 / 142
42 / 142
39 / 142
66 / 142
48 / 142
51 / 142
60 / 142
57 / 142
66 / 142
1. Luzzatto led the Con-Libs going into and just after the the 2020 elections, however, in a Knesset caucus leadership vote a day after the organization of the 49th session of Knesset, he was defeated by Oren Saddi on a 9-5 vote.
2. The AfY was created on November 7th, 2019, from the Con-Libs, taking 10 of its Members of Knesset. The Con-Lib caucus fell from 42 to 32 going into the 2020 elections.
International Affiliation and Criticism
The Constitutional Liberals had numerous affiliations abroad to other like-minded political parties such as Sydalon's Modern Left and Liberal Alliance of Christians, Latium's Progressive Party, Lihnidos's Democratic Coalition, and more recently, the Centrist Union, Ghant's Liberal Party and the Independent Coalition, Gelonia's Modern Democratic Party, and Arthurista's Labour Party.