The 1956 Strike of Middle-Class Professionals

A Socio-political Alliance with the Right

in Israel Studies Review
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  • 1 Ben-Gurion University abareli@bgu.ac.il
  • 2 Tel Aviv University uricohen@post.tau.ac.il
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abstract

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.

Contributor Notes

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: abareli@bgu.ac.il

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: uricohen@post.tau.ac.il

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