In the Israeli general elections next Tuesday (17 May), the main contest is between the ruling Labour Party and its principal right-wing opponents, Likud.
In the Israeli general elections next Tuesday (17 May), the main contest is between the ruling Labour Party and its principal right-wing opponents, Likud. But a third force has emerged out of the 20 or so smaller groupings: the Democratic Movement for Change, headed by a respected Professor of Archaeology, Yigael Yadin.
SYNOPSIS: Professor Yadin only founded his party last November, and cannot expect more than about 15 seats in the 120-strong Knesset. But if the major parties end up closely balanced, that could put him in a key position.
Barely 30, he was Head of Operations in Israel's was of independence, then became Chief-of-Staff. So he was called to an emergency Cabinet just before the 1967 war, though he had long since left the army.
He had turned to archaeology, following in the footsteps of his father, Dr. Eleazar Sukenik, who dated the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. In 1960, he himself discovered in the same area -- and showed to President Ben Zwi -- letters by the Jewish rebel leader against the Roman Empire, Simon Bar-Kochba.
But his major work was done at Masada. Professor Yadin personally conducted distinguished visitors, such as the former West German Chancellor, Herr Willy Brandt, round the desert fort, which was completed by King Herod, the ruler of Judea at the time of the birth of Christ.
And Dr. Henry Kissinger, taking a break from his Middle East peace talks. The fort was the scene of a last stand by Jewish nationalists against the Romans in 73 A.D., and all the defenders died there rather than be captured.
Professor Yadin returned to public life in 1973, as one of a five-man commission appointed to enquire into what had gone wrong in the conduct of the October war of that year. But it was three years more before he decided to become directly involved in politics. He is just turned 60 -- with no very distinctive programme, but with the advantages of a clean reputation and a new face.