The 1956 Strike of Middle-Class Professionals

A Socio-political Alliance with the Right

in Israel Studies Review
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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.