National Liberal Party (Yisrael)
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National Liberal Party of Yisrael
|הלאומית של ישראל המפלגה הליברלית name||Modern Hebrew|
|Member of Knesset and Leader of the Knesset Caucus||Oren Saddi|
|Founded||April 27, 2021|
|Preceded by||Constitutional Liberal Party|
|Seats in the Royal Knesset|
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The National Liberal Party of Yisrael, also commonly called Nat-Libs or the Yellows (colloquially), is a contemporary left-wing third party political party in Yisrael, being one of two successor parties to the now-defunct Constitutional Liberal Party, formerly the leading party of the Yisraeli left. In contrast to the other Con-Lib successor party, the Party of the Left, the Nat-Libs are nationalistic and focused on incorporating permitted areas of social democracy inside Yisrael.
The National Liberals inherited eight MK seats in the Knesset from the dissolution of the Con-Libs. The party's likely voters and activist base are concentrated in parts of Dervaylik and the Central District, especially in and around the more upscale politically left-wing neighborhoods.
Platform and philosophy
Oren Saddi, the party's co-founder and the acknowledged leader of the new party's Knesset caucus, told the Royal Yerushalayim Dispatch upon the Nat-Libs' founding that party's manifesto includes:
- Propose a new, more restrictive Royal Reform Acts that severely limits the Monarchy of Yisrael to a ceremonial, figurehead role vis-à-vis countries like Arthurista or Sudmark;
- Implement a progressive income tax (Yisrael has no income tax currently);
- Legalize trade unions and collective bargaining (illegal since the 1950s);
- Create a proposed National Labor Relations Commission to favor labor groups;
- On foreign policy, build a détente with the Kiso Pact world, leave the Periclean Pact, and downgrade Onekawa-Yisrael relations;
- Decriminalize most illegal mind-altering or illicit drugs and overturn local smoking bans.
Political analysts view the Nat-Libs as an "establishment nationalist liberal left" party, with the Party of the Left representing the populist far left. The Nat-Libs seem to coalesce as the home of the left-wing Masortim while their left-wing rivals further to the left identify more strongly with the Chilonim. While there are party members from all five socioreligious sectors in the party, most of the former Constitutional Liberal Party's Dati Leumi and others moved over to the more moderate Alternative for Yisrael. This sociological reality, according to some political watchers, has moved the Nat-Libs further to the left and away from religiosity than the Con-Lib mainstream had been.
Since the year 2000, a new generational cohort that was less religious, more socially liberal, influenced by Republican Internationale countries, and eager to defy or challenge religious and political norms started to come of age. The last Constitutional Liberal President, Eitan Herzog, created a program of smart growth, pro-metropolitan, anti-suburban policies that favored public transit and urban dwellers at the expense of suburban commuters.
After Herzog's exit and the two-term presidency of Conservative Noah Feldman in the 2010s, the younger cohort, largely populist, internationalist, and very left-wing, clashed repeatedly in intraparty battles on policy or in party primaries with the "old guard" of moderately-religious, middle-aged insiders and longtime activists.
The party's left-wing flank sensed an opportunity in the 2020 elections, and rallied around far-left firebrand Yosef Kaduri's presidential campaign. Kaduri won the Con-Libs' nod for president and started running behind the Conservative nominee Yitzchok Katz. Meanwhile, Kadurists had ousted several more moderate establishment-oriented Con-Lib MKs and District officeholders.
Midway through the presidential election, former Con-Lib rising star Reuven Goldschmidt defected and created his own party, the centrist/center-left AfY, taking with him most of the Con-Libs' conservative and moderate MKs, donors, and activists, including several MKs who had lost their primaries to Kadurist-aligned candidates. In the end, Kaduri cratered and Katz won the Electoral College convincingly, with Goldschmidt being his top opponent by the end of the race.
2020-2021: Road to Creation
The new 49th Knesset opened up with an enlarged Right Bloc majority opposed by a sizable United Center Bloc chief opposition, leaving the decimated Constitutional Liberals in an embarassingly third-party position, the first in its entire existence. Saddi and Aone, the Christian party chairman, had a falling out as Kaduri and Aone agitated a full campaign of acidic political resistance against the Hezekian Reaction and the Katz presidency, while Saddi wanted to rebuild and pursue a more policy-focused, rhetorically moderate direction.
After the Onekawan Affair in late 2020, the Kadurists (their leader now a missing person) and the Saddists erupted into open intraparty warfare. After Passover 2021, the two factions agreed to dissolve the nearly century-old party and form separate left-wing parties to suit their divergent political interests.
The remnants of the party's moderate liberals and mainstream liberals, those more grounded in Yisraeli religious culture, establishment-oriented types, and nationalists opted to follow Saddi and former Con-Lib Chairman Tal Haddad to form the National Liberals, while the internationalist and socialist- and republicanism-flirting far left went their own way.
Organization and hierarchy
The party organization is significantly more streamlined than the Con-Libs were. Yitzchok Ismail, a top ally of Saddi and Haddad, is the party chairman, while both co-founders have seats on the Governing Council. The Council is the party's executive committee, and consists of just a few members, to reduce infighting and factionalism.
Election results and current representation
The party has no election results. Its first election cycle will be the 2022 midterms.
International Affiliation and Criticism
The party has no current international affiliations.