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Likud or ליכוד literally means consolidation. The Likud is an Israeli political party, which was formed by the joining together of Free Center, La'am and Gahal in preparation for the 1973 elections. It quickly became and remains to this day the conservative party in Israel.

The first Likud prime minister was Menachem Begin (elected 1977). A former leader of the hard-line paramilitary Irgun, he helped initiate the peace process with Egypt, which resulted in the Camp David Accords and the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. The second was Yitzhak Shamir, who first became PM in October 1983 following Begin's resignation. The third was Benjamin Netanyahu, elected in May 1996. The fourth is Ariel Sharon, elected October 2000. Sharon served as defence minister during Operation Peace for the Galilee (1982). His entire tenure was marked by the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Sharon was re-elected in January 2003 and continues to serve as prime minister.

Likud originally enjoyed great support from blue-collar Sephardim who felt discriminated against by the ruling Mapai (Labour) party. To this day the Likud's strong support base remains amongst Sepharedim and kippah sruga (middle-of-the-road) Orthodox.

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