This article assumes, first, that during the 1950s the government, the trade union Histadrut, and the political party Mapai situated themselves in an intermediate position between the Ashkenazi public and the recently arrived Mizrahi immigrants. Second, it assumes that the right and center-right public forces, such as the General Zionist and Herut parties, and the influential liberal-oriented newspaper Ha’aretz played key roles in the evolution of ethnic relations during this period and impacted the political orientation of the Ashkenazi middle class. It examines these assumptions by considering the part played by the right, the center-right, and the Mapai government during a prolonged conflict between the Ashkenazi academic middle class and the government during the mid-1950s. This dispute centered on the appropriate extent of the wage gaps set between the salaries of the new Ashkenazi academic middle class and those of the new Mizrahi proletariat.
avi bareli is a Senior Researcher on the political history of Israel and Zionism at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is editor of the multi-disciplinary Hebrew journal Iyunim Bitkumat Israel and heads the research group on David Ben-Gurion at the Center for Israel Studies of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute. His publications include Authority and Participation in a New Democracy (2014) and Israeli Republicanism (2011, in Hebrew, with Nir Kedar). His book Mapai in Israel’s Early Independence, 1948–1953 (2017, in Hebrew) received the Ben-Zvi Prize in 2008. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
uri cohen is a Senior Lecturer of Sociology in the School of Education at Tel Aviv University. He has published articles and monographs on higher education in Israel, including The Mountain and the Hill (2006, in Hebrew) and Academia in Tel Aviv: The Making of a University (2014, in Hebrew). He has recently co-authored, with Avi Bareli, The Academic Middle-Class Rebellion: Socio-Political Conflict Over Wage-Gaps in Israel, 1954–1956 (2018). E-mail: email@example.com
Bareli, Avi. 2018. “Ethnic Interests and National Ideology during Israel’s First Decade: Addressing the Rational Oriental Vote.” Middle Eastern Studies 54 (2): 238–252.10.1080/00263206.2017.1403905)| false
Bareli, Avi, and UriCohen. 2008a. “Distributive Justice and a Rising Middle Class: Conflict between MAPAI and White-Collar Professionals before the 1955 General Elections in Israel.” Israel Affairs14 (2): 255–276.
Bareli, Avi, and UriCohen. 2008a. “Distributive Justice and a Rising Middle Class: Conflict between MAPAI and White-Collar Professionals before the 1955 General Elections in Israel.” Israel Affairs 14 (2): 255–276.10.1080/13537120801900268)| false
Bareli, Avi, and UriCohen. 2008b. “The Middle Class versus the Ruling Party during the 1950s in Israel: The ‘Engine–Coach Car’ Dilemma.” Middle Eastern Studies 44 (3): 489–510.10.1080/00263200802021640)| false
Bernstein, Deborah, and ShlomoSwirski. 1982. “The Rapid Economic Development of Israel and the Emergence of the Ethnic Division of Labour.” British Journal of Sociology 33 (1): 64–85.10.2307/589337)| false