Extraparliamentary Religio-Nationalist Movements
Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful), a right-wing ultranationalist,
religio-political revitalization movement, was formed in March
1974 in the aftermath of the October 1973 War. The younger generation
of NRP leaders who constituted the party's new religious elite
created Gush Emunim. Official links between Gush Emunim and the
Youth Faction of the National Religious Party were severed following
the NRP's participation in the June 1974 Labor-led coalition government,
but close unofficial links between the two groups continued. Gush
Emunim also maintained links to Tehiya and factions in the Herut
wing of Likud.
The major activity of Gush Emunim has been to initiate Jewish
settlements in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. From 1977
to 1984, Likud permitted the launching of a number of Jewish settlements
beyond the borders of the Green Line (see Glossary). The Likud
regime gave Gush Emunim the active support of government departments,
the army, and the WZO, which recognized it as an official settlement
movement and allocated it considerable funds for settlement activities.
A thirteen-member secretariat has governed Gush Emunim. A special
conference elected nine of the group's secretaries and co-opted
the other four from the leadership ranks of its affiliated organizations.
Four persons have managed the movement's day-to-day affairs: Rabbi
Moshe Levinger, a founder of Gush Emunim and the leader of the
Jewish town of Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, on the West Bank; Hanan
Porat, a founder of the organization and a former Tehiya Knesset
member who later rejoined the NRP; Uri Elitzur, secretary general
of Amana, Gush Emunim's settlement movement; and Yitzhak Armoni,
secretary general of Gush Emunim since September 1988. From 1984
to August 1988, American-born Daniella Weiss served as Gush Emunim's
Amana was Gush Emunim's settlement arm. The Council of Settlements
in Judea and Samaria (Yesha), chaired by Israel Harel, was the
political organization representing the majority of Jewish settlements
in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. There were more than eighty
such settlements, including those affiliated with nonreligious
parties. Yesha dealt primarily with practical matters, such as
the utilization of land and water, relations with Israeli military
authorities and, if necessary, mobilizing political pressure on
the government. Yesha has created affiliations between Gush Emunim
settlements and Labor, the NRP, and Herut's Betar youth movement.
Two factors shape Yesha, a democratically elected political organization:
the right-wing and ultranationalist views of its members and its
political dependency on external bodies such as government agencies.
The group had five councils in Israel proper and six regional
councils in the occupied territories.
Data as of December 1988