Major interest groups in Israel influencing the formulation of public policy have included the politically powerful Histadrut, the kibbutzim, and the moshavim, all of which were affiliated with or represented in most of the political parties. Reportedly, one of the main reasons for Labor to join the National Unity Government in 1988 was the opportunity for Peres, as minister of finance and chairman of the Knesset's Finance Committee, to bail out the Histadrut, the kibbutzim, and the moshavim, which were billions of dollars in debt.
As of the late 1980s, other economically oriented interest groups included employer organizations and artisan and retail merchant associations. In addition, there were major groups concerned with promoting civil rights, such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the Association for Beduin Rights in Israel. Numbered among groups concerned with political issues such as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, were movements such as Peace Now and Gush Emunim.
Furthermore, Diaspora Jewry might be considered, in the words of Canadian scholar Michael Brecher, an externally based foreign policy interest group. In the late 1980s, Diaspora Jewry, and especially American Jewry, had become increasingly critical of Israeli government policy, particularly over the handling of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and issues concerning religion and the state.
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