The Road to Power

Herut Party in Israel

By Yonathan Shapiro

Subjects: Israel Studies
Series: SUNY series in Israeli Studies
Paperback : 9780791406076, 208 pages, July 1991
Hardcover : 9780791406069, 208 pages, July 1991

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Table of contents



1.  The Inception of a Political Movement

2.  Betar in Poland

3.  Betar in Eretz-Israel

4.  A New Political Party Seeks Its Way

5.  The Supremacy of Politics

6.  A Leader Party

7.  Breakout and Insularity

8.  The Road to Power

Epilogue   Status Politics





This is a clearly conceived, meticulously executed, and lucidly written study of the Herut Party, and it will stand for many years as the definitive study of its subject. Its major strength is the account of the turning points in the evolution of the Revisionist Party's character under Jabotinsky's leadership, and later of Herut Party under Begin's leadership, through interaction with the Polish and Israeli societies respectively. The author addresses the pertinent influences and organizations that interacted with the Revisionists and Herut and provides a clear sense of the parameters within which these parties evolved. In short, even though Herut is viewed by many, including the author, as an atypical party that adheres to myths and as a Manichean worldview, Shapiro makes sense of it roots, character, and evolution in sociological terms.

Yonathan Shapiro is Professor of Political Sociology in the Departments of Sociology and Political Science at Tel Aviv University, Israel. He is the author of The Formative Years of the Israeli Labor Party; Israeli Democracy; and An Elite Without Successors.


"Shapiro examines the Revisionists and Herut in the broad theoretical perspective of radical right-wing parties and uses both comparative insights and historical continuity to buttress his arguments. He also evolves a coherent framework which utilizes the concepts and perspectives of the sociology of status politics, anthropological literature on mythical worldviews and symbols, and historical studies of populist and fascist movements." — Gerson Shafir, University of California, San Diego

"The book integrates historical narration with sociological analysis. It combines neatly descriptive and conceptual concerns and provides a full scale history of Herut with in-depth causal analysis. The author uses a wide range of knowledge in order to apply comparative tools taken from such disciplines as history, sociology, anthropology, and political science, to his case study. Concepts like 'leader party' or 'status politics,' which are the center of the analysis are very revealing insights into the problems tackled." — Uri Ram, The New School for Social Research