Progressive Party Election Poster, 1951
This was a poster published by the Progressive Party in the run-up to the second national Israeli elections in 1951. In the centre of this very colourful poster is the word בעד, which means “in favour of,” and it is followed by the words “social stability” and “political responsibility,” two central slogans of this political party. Underneath these slogans is the letter פ , the initial letter of the Progressive Party. On the right and left side, accompanied by the word נגד which means “against,” is the party’s criticism of the two opposing parties – Mapai and the General Zionists. On the right-hand side, the text reads “against Key political factionism” and the letter א representing Mapai is depicted inside a circle of people dancing around a key, representing the fact that jobs were secured according to Mapai’s control of employment and the civil service. On the left-hand side the text reads “against the Golden Calf” and the letter צ representing the General Zionists is depicted inside a circle of people dancing around piles of money. This is the Progressive Party’s critique of the other parties standing in the 1951 election: Mapai for their tendency to hand out jobs and resources according to political considerations, and the General Zionists for their prioritization of money over all other considerations.
The Progressive Party was a centrist-liberal party headed by Pinchas Rosen, which won four seats in the 1951 election. In 1960, the Progressive Party combined with the General Zionists to form the Liberal Party, which won seventeen seats in 1961. In the ensuing years, this party combined with other parties and created the Likud Party.
Connection to Parashat Ki Tisa
Parashat Ki Tisa details the episode of the Golden Calf, when the Jewish People, impatiently awaiting Moses’ return from Mount Sinai, demand Aharon to create gods to replace him.
Aharon collects the people’s golden jewellery, throws it into a fire, and creates a Golden Calf. On his return, Moses sees the people worshipping the Golden Calf and smashes the Ten Commandments in anger.
As can be seen in this poster, the Golden Calf is often used as a metaphor for people who worship money and riches.
Politics teachers can use this election poster to discuss the use of political slogans and messages, and the imagery used in this campaign.
Jewish History, Art, Literature and civics teachers can use this resource to explore how the Golden Calf has been a metaphor used throughout history in a variety of different ways.
When was this poster created?
Which political party was responsible for this poster?
Describe the two images on this poster.
What is written on the poster? (Use a dictionary or online translation tool to understand the words.)
Which biblical event does this poster refer to?
Which two other political parties feature on this poster?
Reading Between the Lines
The poster uses the image of the Golden Calf to convey a message.
What was the meaning of worshipping the Golden Calf in the Bible?
What does it mean today?
What criticism is directed at the Mapai party, which is represented by the letter alef א.
According to the poster, what was the Progressive Party offering the public?
Does the Progressive Party still exist today in Israel?
Biblical stories or expressions, such as the Golden Calf, are still used in Hebrew and in English. Find an example.
Research more recent examples of Israeli election posters, political cartoons, or campaigns.
What are the main topics that appear in the election material?
Have the messages changed over the years?
Choose a modern Israeli political party, research its policies, and create your own political poster.