1974 – Rabin’s First Term as Israel’s Prime Minister

The First Term as Israel’s Prime Minister

Rabin entered his term as prime minister on June 3, 1974. During his three-year term of office, he led a policy that expressed a continuity of the Labor Party’s leadership in the government, a generational change of the guard, and a willingness for changes.

He saw the renewal of the diplomatic initiative and progress toward peace as a necessary task. He started negotiating with Egypt on an interim agreement, mediated by the American Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. The agreement, one of his most notable achievements as prime minister, was reached after difficult negotiations, fraught with crises, and signed on September 1, 1975. Subsequently, Rabin would come to see it as the first step toward a full peace agreement with Egypt that was signed four years later by the Likud government headed by Menachem Begin. Following the signing of the interim agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was obtained with the American administration led by President Gerald Ford, in which the United States made several far-reaching commitments to Israel’s security and economy.

In his attempts to promote talks with neighboring states, Rabin secretly conferred with King Hussein. He conducted the first clandestine visit of an Israeli prime minister to the king of Morocco.

While working to promote peace, Rabin also found it necessary to cope with PLO terrorist activity against Israeli citizens. He opposed any negotiations with the PLO and argued that the Palestinian problem would be resolved through the Jordanian option. Against the organization’s Palestinian supporters, he took an uncompromising “strong arm” policy.

During his second year in office, “Gush Emunim” activists established a settlement in Sebastia in Samaria. Although Rabin disagreed with the concept of Jewish settlement amid Arab population centers, he avoided entering into a harsh confrontation with the settlers. After some hesitancy, he approved establishing a Jewish settlement in Kadum. Thus paving the way for continued settlement activity, which he opposed.