I have relocated the following unreferenced material from the article page. --Bob Burton 15:01, 7 December 2007 (EST)
The Likud was formed by the joining together of Free Center, La'am and Gahal in preparation for the 1973 elections. It was later merged with the liberal right-wing Herut to become the Israeli right-wing party. It quickly became and remains to this day the main right-wing 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 negotiations with Egypt, which resulted in the Camp David Accords and the signing of 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 who was elected October 2000. His entire tenure was marked by the Al-Aqsa Intifada (which he helped trigger). Sharon was re-elected in January 2003 and continues to serve as prime minister. In December 2004 Likud formed a coalition with Labour to be able to sustain a coalition.
Likud originally enjoyed great support from blue-collar Sephardim who felt discriminated against by the ruling Mapai (Labour) party – dominated by Ashkenazi (European origin) Jews. To this day the Likud's strong support base remains amongst Sephardim and kippah sruga (middle-of-the-road) Orthodox.
No single approach to Palestinian statehood, settlers, and the disputed territories dominates Likud thought. However, all agree to further annexation of Palestinian land, further dispossesion of the native Palestinians, and consolidation of the settlements. The differences are all a matter of degree and form; some advocate "transfer", i.e., the forcible expulsion of the Palestinian population from the Occupied Territories, others prefer a more gradual approach. It is a party consensus that there should be no Palestinian state, although they will agree to call the remaining "bantustans" a "state".
The Likud claims to support capitalist free market economics, though in practice has mostly ruled as a European-style social democratic party with neo-liberal tendencies. Since coming to power in the late 70's, it has done little to reduce the tax burden, downsize the public sector or remove restrictive labour laws. On the other hand it has instituted free-trade (especially with the EU and US) and dismantled certain monopolies (Bezek, etc). Current Finance minister Netanyahu, the most ardent free-market minister to-date, argues that Israel's largest labor union, the Histadrut, has so much power as to paralyze the Israeli economy. He also argues that the main causes of unemployment are laziness and excessive benefits to the unemployed.
The Likud promotes Jewish-oriented culture, emphasizing such nationalist themes as the flag and the heroism that won Israel's 1949 war with seven Arab states. It advocates teaching values and behavior codes in childhood education. Likud endorses press freedom, and promotion of private-sector media, which have grown markedly under governments Likud has led.