Communist Party of Israel

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Communist Party of Israel


(Ha-Miflagah Ha-Kommunistit Ha-Yisraelit; Maki; CPI), founded in March 1919 as the Palestine Socialist Workers’ Party. Renamed the Palestine Communist Party in 1921 and accepted into the Comintern in 1924. The party was renamed the Communist Party of Israel (CPI), or Israel Communist Party, after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

The party’s first congress, held in October 1919, and its second congress, in October 1920, set forth the main directions for the party’s work: the struggle for socialism, the liberation of the country from British colonial oppression, and the united action of Jewish and Arab workers.

For a long period during the British mandate of Palestine (1921–42), the party was compelled to work underground under difficult conditions. Many party members were jailed, and about 2,000 Communists, including many party leaders, were forcibly deported by the British administration.

From the moment of the establishment of the state of Israel, the CPI has consistently fought against imperialism, Zionism, and reaction. It has worked for an end to the country’s political and economic dependence on the USA and other imperialist powers, for the vital interests of the working masses (Jews and Arabs alike), for the development of Israel along the path of peace, democracy, and progress, and for friendship among peoples. The CPI was the only party in the country that resolutely opposed the British-French-Israeli aggression in Egypt in 1956 and the aggression unleashed in 1967 against the Arab countries by the ruling circles of Israel with the support of US imperialism and international Zionism. This policy was reaffirmed and further developed at the party’s 16th and 17th congresses (January-February 1969 and June 1972).

The Sixteenth Congress of the CPI, approving the party’s position on Israeli aggression, vigorously came out for the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on the withdrawal of Israeli troops from all occupied Arab territories and the full implementation of the Security Council resolution of Nov. 22, 1967. Reaffirming the party’s loyalty to the principles of proletarian internationalism, the congress called for a more vigorous fight against revisionism, dogmatism, and nationalism, both within the party itself and in the international communist movement. The congress noted that, having overcome the difficulties caused by the 1965 secession of the Mikunis-Sneh faction, which had adopted chauvinistic, pro-Zionist, and anti-Soviet positions, the CPI had become stronger organizationally, ideologically, and politically.

The Seventeenth Congress of the CPI stated that one of the chief tasks of the party is the struggle for peace and against the continuing Israeli occupation of Arab territories. The congress appealed to the working masses and all peace-loving forces in the country to join in a united front for peace. The congress rated highly the Soviet Union’s efforts toward a peaceful solution to the Middle East crisis. It declared itself in favor of creating an anti-imperialist democratic front, and it adopted a comprehensive program to implement such a front. The documents of the congress sharply criticized the ideology and practice of Zionism, which are contrary to the interests of the Jewish working masses and the Israeli people. The congress emphasized that the struggle against Zionism is vital for the people of Israel and for all progressive forces. The congress took a strong stand against the slanderous anti-Soviet campaign unleashed by Israeli ruling circles and Zionist organizations. Taking note of the stepped-up activities of rightist and extremist elements in the country and attempts by the Israeli ruling circles to restrict the civil rights and freedom of political activity of opponents of the government’s policy, the congress called on all democratic forces to rally to repel the fascist threat and to defend democratic freedoms.

Delegations of the CPI attended the International Conferences of Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Moscow in 1957, 1960, and 1969. The CPI approved the documents adopted by these conferences.

The CPI has had four deputies in the Knesset since the elections of 1969.

The CPI is organized along the principles of democratic centralism. The party’s supreme body is the Congress; between congresses the Politburo and the Secretariat of the Central Committee direct the party’s work. M. Vilner is secretary-general of the Central Committee of the CPI. The chief publications of the CPI are the newspapers Zuha-Derekh (in Hebrew) and Al-Ittihad (in Arabic) and the magazine Arakhim (in Hebrew). Among its other newspapers and magazines is the newspaper Der Weg (in Yiddish).


Communist Party of Israel. Pre-Congress Material for the XVII Congress of the Communist Party of Israel. Tel-Aviv [1972].
Communist Party of Israel. XVII Congress: Material. Tel-Aviv [1972].
Ha-Veida ha-hasheshesreh [shel ha-Miflagah ha-Kommunistit ba-Arets] (XVI Congress of the Communist Party of Israel). Tel-Aviv-Jaffa, 1969.
Khamishim shanim la-Miflagah ha-Kommunistit ba-Arets (Fifty Years of the Communist Party of Israel). Tel-Aviv, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.