chapter  6
14 Pages

The Labor Market and the Rise of a Three- Tracked Welfare State

The pre-1948 Zionist civil society was characterized by an abundance of economic entrepreneurs-agricultural settlers, construction and transportation cooperatives, private industrialists, and providers of health and education services, to name but a few. After 1948, with the assumption of sovereignty and the availability of state-procured capital, these veterans were the main users and beneficiaries of the new resources, and through them became the state-made middle class. At the same time, the pre-1948 Zionist Yishuv developed some of the institutions generally associated with the advancement of distributive justice and with the protection of the rights of workers, such as labor unions and workers’ political parties. It has already been shown that these two dimensions were not independent or separate from each other; rather, they were two sides of one and the same coin: the self-organization of the Zionist settlers in micro societies, which acted both as economic entrepreneurs and as protectors and providers of a network of mutual aid. Those constructions were convenient and effective for their members, in the context of pre-1948 Palestine, where the British Mandatory state did not invest in economic development or in the provision of social security. After 1948, the micro societies continued to act for the benefit of their veteran members, but they failed to provide the same opportunities and protection for the new groups that became Israeli.