When faced with the contradiction between Socialism and Zionism the dilemma was always resolved in favour of the latter
When I was young Israel was seen by many on the Left as a socialist oasis in the Middle East. Until 1977, Israel was ruled continuously by Israeli Labour/Mapai coalitions, sometimes in alliance with Mapam, the United Workers Party that was to the left of Mapai. Nearly all land in Israel was nationalised and the trade union Histadrut was the second major employer after the state itself.
The Fabians waxed lyrical about Israeli ‘socialism’. Many were the times when I was told to go to Israel if I wanted to see socialism and join a Kibbutz. However there were also many things that we were not told such as the fact that Israel’s Arabs lived under military rule from 1948 to 1966.
The Kibbutzim were collective settlements where members shared everything in common. Of course the Kibbutzim operated in the context of a market economy so they did not affect the society around them. But what we were not told was that they were Jewish only institutions of which Arabs could not be members, since the land they occupied was ‘national’ i.e. Jewish national land.
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