chapter  6
Immigrant Housing and the Establishment of the State–Citizen Contract, 1948–1953
Pages 27

This chapter examines the formation and consolidation of a housing-based social contract between state and citizen during the first years of Israeli national sovereignty. Initially, the creation of Israel in 1948 brought a housing ‘big bang’ to Israel-Palestine. Mass Jewish migration created a huge demand for housing but also a very great loss of housing amongst the Palestinian population. The year 1948 also marked a watershed in the use of housing as a nation-building strategy within the Zionist movement, transforming it from an effort based on accumulating self-governing subjects to one obliged to house newly empowered citizens in a nation-state whose legitimacy was based on serving as the collective national home. Here I show how these conditions ultimately led to a state-citizen contract that included a ‘housing regime’ aimed at transforming immigrants into proper citizens, and explore how three different housing schemes developed during Israel’s first 5 years were planned and produced in direct response to continuing demands by citizens.