Labor Zionism

Labor Zionism

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Labor Zionism can be described as the major stream of the left wing of the Zionist
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 movement. It was, for many years, the most significant tendency among Zionists and Zionist organizational structure. It saw itself as the Zionist sector of the historic Jewish labor movements of Eastern and Central Europe, eventually developing local units in most countries with sizeable Jewish populations. Unlike the "political Zionist" tendency founded by Theodor Herzl
Theodor Herzl
Theodor Herzl , born Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl was an Ashkenazi Jew Austro-Hungarian journalist and the father of modern political Zionism and in effect the State of Israel.-Early life:...

 and advocated by Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Azriel Weizmann, , was a Zionist leader, President of the Zionist Organization, and the first President of the State of Israel. He was elected on 1 February 1949, and served until his death in 1952....

, Labor Zionists did not believe that a Jewish state would be created simply by appealing to the international community or to a powerful nation such as Britain, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 or the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. Rather, Labor Zionists believed that a Jewish state could only be created through the efforts of the Jewish working class
Working class
Working class is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs , often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes...

 settling in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 and constructing a state through the creation of a progressive Jewish society with rural kibbutzim and moshavim and an urban Jewish proletariat.

Labor Zionism grew in size and influence and eclipsed "political Zionism" by the 1930s both internationally and within the British Mandate of Palestine where Labor Zionists predominated among many of the institutions of the pre-independence Jewish community Yishuv
Yishuv
The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv is the term referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel...

, particularly the trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 federation known as the Histadrut
Histadrut
HaHistadrut HaKlalit shel HaOvdim B'Eretz Yisrael , known as the Histadrut, is Israel's organization of trade unions. Established in December 1920 during the British Mandate for Palestine, it became one of the most powerful institutions of the State of Israel.-History:The Histadrut was founded in...

. The Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

the largest Zionist paramilitary defense force was a Labor Zionist institution and was used on occasion (such as during the Hunting Season
The Hunting Season
The Hunting Season or The Saison was the name given to the Haganah's suppression of the Irgun's insurgency against the government of the British Mandate in Palestine.-Background:...

) against right-wing political opponents or to assist the British Administration in capturing Jewish terrorists.

Labor Zionists played a leading role in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

 and Labor Zionists were predominant among the leadership of the Israeli military for decades after the formation of the state of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 in 1948.

Major theoreticians of the Labor Zionist movement included Moses Hess
Moses Hess
Moses Hess was a Jewish philosopher and socialist, and one of the founders of Labor Zionism.-Life:Hess was born in Bonn, which was under French rule at the time. In his French-language birth certificate, his name is given as "Moises"; he was named after his maternal grandfather...

, Nahum Syrkin, Ber Borochov
Ber Borochov
Dov Ber Borochov was a Marxist Zionist and one of the founders of the Labor Zionist movement as well as a pioneer in the study of Yiddish as a language....

 and Aaron David Gordon and leading figures in the movement included David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

, Golda Meir
Golda Meir
Golda Meir ; May 3, 1898 – December 8, 1978) was a teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel....

 and Berl Katznelson
Berl Katznelson
Berl Katznelson was one the intellectual founders of Labor Zionism, instrumental to the establishment of the modern State of Israel, and the editor of Davar, the first daily newspaper of the workers' movement.-Biography:...

.

Ideology


Moses Hess's
Moses Hess
Moses Hess was a Jewish philosopher and socialist, and one of the founders of Labor Zionism.-Life:Hess was born in Bonn, which was under French rule at the time. In his French-language birth certificate, his name is given as "Moises"; he was named after his maternal grandfather...

 1862 work Rome and Jerusalem. The Last National Question argued for the Jews to settle in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 as a means of settling the national question. Hess proposed a socialist state
Socialist state
A socialist state generally refers to any state constitutionally dedicated to the construction of a socialist society. It is closely related to the political strategy of "state socialism", a set of ideologies and policies that believe a socialist economy can be established through government...

 in which the Jews would become agrarianized
Agrarianism
Agrarianism has two common meanings. The first meaning refers to a social philosophy or political philosophy which values rural society as superior to urban society, the independent farmer as superior to the paid worker, and sees farming as a way of life that can shape the ideal social values...

 through a process of "redemption of the soil" that would transform the Jewish community into a true nation in that Jews would occupy the productive layers of society rather than being an intermediary non-productive merchant class, which is how he perceived European Jews.

Ber Borochov
Ber Borochov
Dov Ber Borochov was a Marxist Zionist and one of the founders of the Labor Zionist movement as well as a pioneer in the study of Yiddish as a language....

, continuing from the work of Moses Hess
Moses Hess
Moses Hess was a Jewish philosopher and socialist, and one of the founders of Labor Zionism.-Life:Hess was born in Bonn, which was under French rule at the time. In his French-language birth certificate, his name is given as "Moises"; he was named after his maternal grandfather...

, proposed the creation of a socialist society that would correct the "inverted pyramid" of Jewish society. Borochov believed that Jews were forced out of normal occupations by Gentile hostility and competition, using this dynamic to explain the relative predominance of Jewish professionals, rather than workers. Jewish society, he argued, would not be healthy until the inverted pyramid was righted, and the majority of Jews became workers and peasants again. This, he held, could only be accomplished by Jews in their own country.

Another Zionist thinker, A. D. Gordon
A. D. Gordon
Aaron David Gordon , more commonly known as A. D. Gordon, was a Zionist ideologue and the spiritual force behind practical Zionism and Labor Zionism. He founded Hapoel Hatzair, a movement that set the tone for the Zionist movement for many years to come. Influenced by Leo Tolstoy and others, it is...

, was influenced by the völkisch ideas of European romantic nationalism, and proposed establishing a society of Jewish peasants. Gordon made a religion of work. These two figures (Gordon and Borochov), and others like them, motivated the establishment of the first Jewish collective settlement, or kibbutz
Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

, Degania
Degania
-Further reading:* Gavron, Daniel. The Kibbutz: Awakening from Utopia. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000.-External links:* *, from the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive internet site...

, on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias , is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately in circumference, about long, and wide. The lake has a total area of , and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m...

, in 1909 (the same year that the city of Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

 was established). Deganiah, and many other kibbutz
Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

im that were soon to follow, attempted to realise these thinkers' vision by creating communal villages, where newly arrived European Jews would be taught agriculture and other manual skills.

Joseph Trumpeldor
Joseph Trumpeldor
Joseph Trumpeldor , was an early Zionist activist. He helped organize the Zion Mule Corps and bring Jewish immigrants to the Land of Israel. Trumpeldor died defending the settlement of Tel Hai in 1920 and subsequently became a Zionist national hero...

 is also considered to be one of the early icons of the Labor Zionist movement in Palestine. When discussing what it is to be a Jewish pioneer, Trumpeldor stated
"What is a pioneer? Is he a worker only? No! The definition includes much more. The pioneers should be workers but that is not all. We shall need people who will be “everything” – everything that the land of Israel needs. A worker has his labor interests, a soldier his esprit de corps, a doctor and an engineer, their special inclinations. A generation of iron-men; iron from which you can forge everything the national machinery needs. You need a wheel? Here I am. A nail, a screw, a block? – here take me. You need a man to till the soil? – I’m ready. A soldier? I am here. Policeman, doctor, lawyer, artist, teacher, water carrier? Here I am. I have no form. I have no psychology. I have no personal feeling, no name. I am a servant of Zion. Ready to do everything, not bound to do anything. I have only one aim – creation."
Trumpeldor, an Anarcho-Communist
Anarchist communism
Anarchist communism is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, markets, money, private property, and capitalism in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy and a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers' councils with...

 Zionist, gave his life in 1920 defending the community of Tel Hai
Tel Hai
Tel Hai is the modern name of a settlement in northern Israel, the site of an early battle in the Arab–Israeli conflict, and of a noted monument, tourist attraction, and a college...

 in the Upper Galilee
Upper Galilee
The Upper Galilee is a geographical-political term in use since the end of the Second Temple period, originally referring to a mountainous area overlapping the present northern Israel and southern Lebanon, its borders being the Litani river in the north, the Mediterranean Sea in the west, the Beit...

. He became a symbol of Jewish self-defense and his reputed last words, "Never mind, it is good to die for our country" (En davar, tov lamut be'ad artzenu אין דבר, טוב למות בעד ארצנו), became famous in the pre-state Zionist movement and in Israel during the 1950s and 1960s. Trumpeldor's heroic death made him not only a martyr for Zionists Left but also for the Revisionist Zionist movement who named its youth movement Betar (an acronym for "Covenant of Joseph Trumpeldor") after the fallen hero.

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

 was a prominent supporter of both Labor Zionism and efforts to encourage Jewish-Arab cooperation. Fred Jerome in his Einstein on Israel and Zionism: His Provocative Ideas About the Middle East argues that Einstein was a Cultural Zionist who supported the idea of a Jewish homeland but opposed the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine “with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power.” Instead, he preferred a bi-national state
Binational solution
The one-state solution and the similar binational solution are proposed approaches to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Proponents of a binational solution to the conflict advocate either a single state in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or a single state in Israel and the West...

 with “continuously functioning, mixed, administrative, economic, and social organizations.” However Ami Isseroff in his article Was Einstein a Zionist argues that Einstein was not opposed to the state of Israel given that Einstein declared it “the fulfillment of our dreams.” Perceiving its vulnerability after independence, he again set aside his pacifism in the name of human preservation, when president Harry Truman recognized Israel in May 1948.In the November 1948 presidential election Einstein supported former vice-president Henry A. Wallace
Henry A. Wallace
Henry Agard Wallace was the 33rd Vice President of the United States , the Secretary of Agriculture , and the Secretary of Commerce . In the 1948 presidential election, Wallace was the nominee of the Progressive Party.-Early life:Henry A...

’s Progressive Party
Progressive Party (United States, 1948)
The United States Progressive Party of 1948 was a left-wing political party that ran former Vice President Henry A. Wallace of Iowa for president and U.S. Senator Glen H. Taylor of Idaho for vice president in 1948.-Foundation:...

, which advocated a pro-Soviet foreign policy – but which also at the time (like the USSR) strongly supported the new state of Israel. Wallace went down to defeat, winning no states.

Parties


Initially two labor parties were founded by immigrants to Palestine of the Second Aliyah
Second Aliyah
The Second Aliyah was an important and highly influential aliyah that took place between 1904 and 1914, during which approximately 40,000 Jews immigrated into Ottoman Palestine, mostly from the Russian Empire, some from Yemen....

 (1904-1914): the pacifist and anti-militarist Hapo'el Hatza'ir
Hapoel Hatzair
Hapoel Hatzair is a Zionist group which was active in Palestine from 1905 until 1930. They were founded by A.D. Gordon, Yosef Ahronowitz, Yosef Sprinzak and followed a non-Marxist, Zionist, socialist agenda. In accordance with A.D...

 (Young Worker) party and the Marxist
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 Poale Zion party, with Poale Zion
Poale Zion
Poale Zion was a Movement of Marxist Zionist Jewish workers circles founded in various cities of the Russian Empire about the turn of the century after the Bund rejected Zionism in 1901.-Formation and early years:Poale Zion parties and organisations were started across the Jewish diaspora in the...

 roots. The Poale Zion Party had a left wing and a right wing. In 1919 the right wing, including Ben-Gurion and anti-Marxist non-party people, founded Ahdut HaAvoda
Ahdut HaAvoda
Ahdut HaAvoda was the name used by a sequence of political parties that existed firstly during Mandate Palestine and later in Israel. Its original version, led by David Ben-Gurion, is one of the main ancestors of the modern-day Israeli Labor Party....

. In 1930 Ahdut HaAvoda and Hapoel Hatzair
Hapoel Hatzair
Hapoel Hatzair is a Zionist group which was active in Palestine from 1905 until 1930. They were founded by A.D. Gordon, Yosef Ahronowitz, Yosef Sprinzak and followed a non-Marxist, Zionist, socialist agenda. In accordance with A.D...

 fused into the Mapai
Mapai
Mapai was a left-wing political party in Israel, and was the dominant force in Israeli politics until its merger into the Israeli Labor Party in 1968...

 party, which included all of mainstream Labor Zionism. Until the 1960s these parties were dominated by members of the Second Aliyah.

The Left Poale Zion party ultimately merged with the kibbutz-based Hashomer Hatzair
Hashomer Hatzair
Hashomer Hatzair is a Socialist–Zionist youth movement founded in 1913 in Galicia, Austria-Hungary, and was also the name of the group's political party in the Yishuv in the pre-1948 British Mandate of Palestine...

, the urban Socialist League and several smaller left-wing groups to become the Mapam
Mapam
Mapam was a political party in Israel and is one of the ancestors of the modern-day Meretz party.-History:Mapam was formed by a January 1948 merger of the Hashomer Hatzair Workers Party and Ahdut HaAvoda Poale Zion Movement. The party was originally Marxist-Zionist in its outlook and represented...

 party, which in turn later joined with other parties to create Meretz
Meretz-Yachad
New Movement-Meretz , previously known as Meretz, then Yachad, and then Meretz-Yachad is a left-wing, Zionist, social democratic political party in Israel....

.

The Mapai
Mapai
Mapai was a left-wing political party in Israel, and was the dominant force in Israeli politics until its merger into the Israeli Labor Party in 1968...

 party later became the Israeli Labor Party, which for a number of years was linked with Mapam in the Alignment
Alignment (political party)
The Alignment was an alliance of the major left-wing parties in Israel between the 1960s and 1990s. It was established in 1965 as an alliance of Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda but was dissolved three years later when the two parties and Rafi formally merged into the Israeli Labor Party...

. These two parties were initially the two largest parties in the Yishuv
Yishuv
The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv is the term referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel...

 and in the first Knesset
Israeli legislative election, 1949
Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held in newly independent Israel on 25 January 1949. Voter turnout was 86.9%. Two days after its first meeting on 14 February 1949, legislators voted to change the name of the body to the Knesset...

, whilst Mapai and its predecessors dominated Israeli politics both in the pre-independence Yishuv
Yishuv
The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv is the term referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel...

 and for the first three decades of Israel's independence, until the late 1970s.

Decline and transformation


Already in the 1920s the Labor movement disregarded its socialist roots and concentrated on building the nation by constructive action. According to Tzahor its leaders did not "abandon fundamental ideological principles". However according to Ze'ev Sternhell in his book The Founding Myths of Israel
The Founding Myths of Israel
The Founding Myths of Israel: Nationalism, Socialism, and the Making of the Jewish State is a book by Zeev Sternhell. It was published in Hebrew in 1995, in French in 1996 and in English in 1998. The stated purpose of the book is an analysis of the ideology and actions of labor Zionism in the...

, the labor leaders had already abandoned socialist principles by 1920 and only used them as "mobilizing myths".

Following the 1967 Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

 several prominent Labor Zionists created the Movement for Greater Israel
Movement for Greater Israel
The Movement for Greater Israel was a political organisation in Israel during the 1960s and 1970s which subscribed to an ideology of Greater Israel....

 which subscribed to an ideology of Greater Israel
Greater Israel
Greater Israel is a controversial expression with several different Biblical and political meanings over time.Currently, the most common definition of the land encompassed by the term is the territory of the State of Israel together with the Palestinian territories...

 and called upon the Israeli government to keep and populate all areas captured in the war. Among the public figures in this movement associated with Left-wing nationalism
Left-wing nationalism
Left-wing nationalism describes a form of nationalism officially based upon equality, popular sovereignty, and national self-determination. It has its origins in the Jacobinism of the French Revolution. Left-wing nationalism typically espouses anti-imperialism...

 were Rachel Yanait Ben-Zvi
Rachel Yanait Ben-Zvi
Rachel Yanait Ben-Zvi was an Israeli author and educator, and a leading Labor Zionist. Ben-Zvi was the wife of the second President of Israel, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi.-Biography:...

, Yitzhak Tabenkin
Yitzhak Tabenkin
-External links:...

, Icchak Cukierman
Icchak Cukierman
Icchak Cukierman , also known by his nom de guerre "Antek", or by the anglicised spelling Yitzhak Zuckerman, was one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising during World War II.Cukierman was born in Vilnius, Lithuania into a Jewish family...

, Zivia Lubetkin
Zivia Lubetkin
Zivia Lubetkin was one of the leaders of the Jewish underground in Nazi-occupied Warsaw and the only woman on the High Command of the resistance group Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa .-Pre-World War II:...

, Eliezer Livneh
Eliezer Livneh
Eliezer Livneh was a Zionist activist, journalist, publicist and Israeli politician. He is known for his activism for nuclear proliferation of the Middle East and for his endorsement of the Greater Israel cause.-Biography:...

, Moshe Shamir
Moshe Shamir
Moshe Shamir was an Israeli author, playwright, opinion writer, and public figure.-Biography:...

, Zev Vilnay
Zev Vilnay
Zev Vilnay was an Israeli geographer, author and lecturer.-Biography:Zev Vilnay was born in Kishinev. He moved to Palestine with his parents at the age of six and grew up in Haifa. He served as a military topographer in the Haganah, and later in the Israel Defense Forces. Vilnay and his wife...

, Shmuel Yosef Agnon
Shmuel Yosef Agnon
Shmuel Yosef Agnon , was a Nobel Prize laureate writer and was one of the central figures of modern Hebrew fiction. In Hebrew, he is known by the acronym Shai Agnon . In English, his works are published under the name S. Y. Agnon.Agnon was born in Galicia, Austro-Hungarian Empire...

, Isser Harel
Isser Harel
Isser Harel was spymaster of the intelligence and the security services of Israel and the Director of the Mossad . In his capacity as Mossad director he oversaw the abduction, and secret transport to Israel, of Holocaust organizer Adolph Eichmann....

, Dan Tolkovsky
Dan Tolkovsky
Aluf Dan Tolkovsky was the commander of the Israeli Air Force from May 1953 to July 1958. Tolkovsky entered the military in 1943, when the Royal Air Force sent a Jewish unit from Palestine to train at a flight school in Rhodesia ...

, and Avraham Yoffe
Avraham Yoffe
Avraham Yoffe was an Israeli general during the Six-Day War. He later entered politics, and served as a member of the Knesset for Likud between 1973 and 1977.-Biography:...

. In the 1969 Knesset elections
Israeli legislative election, 1969
Elections for the seventh Knesset were held in Israel on 28 October 1969. Voter turnout was 81.7%.-Results:¹ Meir Avizohar defected from the National List to the Alignment² Avner Shaki left the National Religious Party and remained a single MK...

 it ran as the "List for the Land of Israel", but failed to cross the electoral threshold. Prior to the 1973 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1973
The Elections for the eighth Knesset were held on 31 December 1973. Voter turnout was 78.6%.-Results:1 Aryeh Eliav left the Alignment and merged with Ratz to form Ya'ad - Civil Rights Movement...

, it joined the Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 and won 39 seats. In 1976 it merged with the National List and the Independent Centre
Independent Centre
-History:The faction was established by Eliezer Shostak and Ehud Olmert in 1974 when they broke away from the Free Centre, a member of the Likud alliance. The new faction remained part of Likud....

 (a breakaway from the Free Centre) to form La'am
La'am
La'am was a political faction in Israel that formed part of Likud between 1976 and 1984.-History:Between its formation in 1973 and formal merger in 1988, Likud consisted of an alliance of several right wing parties. The two largest blocs were Herut and the Liberal Party, which had formed the Gahal...

, which remained a faction within Likud until its merger into the Herut
Herut
Herut was the major right-wing political party in Israel from the 1940s until its formal merger into Likud in 1988, and an adherent of Revisionist Zionism.-History:...

 faction in 1984.

Other prominent Labor Zionists, especially those who came to dominate the Israeli Labor Party, became strong advocates for relinquishing the territory won during the Six-Day War. By the signing of the Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

 in 1993, this became the central policy of the Labor Party under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

 and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

. What distinguishes Labor Zionism from other Zionist streams today is not economic policy, an analysis of capitalism or any class analysis or orientation but its attitude towards the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The peace process in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict has taken shape over the years, despite the ongoing violence in the Middle East and an "all or nothing" attitude about a lasting peace, "which prevailed for most of the twentieth century"...

 with modern Labor Zionists tending to support the Israeli peace camp to varying degrees. This orientation towards Israel's borders and foreign policy has dominated Labor Zionist institutions in recent decades to the extent that socialist Zionists who support a Greater Israel
Greater Israel
Greater Israel is a controversial expression with several different Biblical and political meanings over time.Currently, the most common definition of the land encompassed by the term is the territory of the State of Israel together with the Palestinian territories...

 ideology are forced to seek political expression elsewhere.

In Israel the Labor Party has followed the general path of other governing social democratic parties such as the British Labour Party and is now fully oriented towards capitalism and even neo-liberalism, though recently it has rediscovered the welfare state
Welfare state
A welfare state is a "concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those...

 under the leadership of Amir Peretz
Amir Peretz
Amir Peretz is an Israeli politician and member of the Knesset for the Labour Party. He is a former Defense Minister of Israel and former leader of the Labour Party, having left those positions in June 2007....

.

The Israeli Labor Party and its predecessors have ironically been associated within Israeli society as representing the country's ruling class and political elite whereas working-class Israelis have traditionally voted for the Likud since the Begin Revolution
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

 of 1977.

Labor Zionism today


Labor Zionism manifests itself today in both adult and youth organizations. Among adults, the World Labor Zionist Movement, based in Jerusalem, has affiliates in countries around the world, such as Ameinu
Ameinu
Ameinu is an American Jewish Zionist organization. Established in 2004 as the successor to the Labor Zionist Alliance, it is the continuation of Labor Zionist activity in the United States that began with the founding of Poale Zion in 1905....

 in the United States and Australia, Associação Moshé Sharett in Brazil and the Jewish Labour Movement
Jewish Labour Movement
The Jewish Labour Movement , founded in 2004, is the successor organisation to Poale Zion. It is affiliated with the Labour Party in the UK as a Socialist society....

 in the United Kingdom. Youth and students are served through Zionist youth movements such as Habonim Dror
Habonim Dror
Habonim Dror is a Jewish Labour Zionist youth movement formed by the merger in 1982 of the Habonim and Dror youth movements. Habonim Dror's sister movement in Israel is Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed, the Working and Studying Youth.-Ideology:...

, Hashomer Hatzair
Hashomer Hatzair
Hashomer Hatzair is a Socialist–Zionist youth movement founded in 1913 in Galicia, Austria-Hungary, and was also the name of the group's political party in the Yishuv in the pre-1948 British Mandate of Palestine...

 and college-age campus activist groups such as the Union of Progressive Zionists
Union of Progressive Zionists
The Union of Progressive Zionists was a North American network of Jewish student activists who have organized around principles of social justice and peace in Israel and Palestine...

 of the U.S. and Canada.

In Israel, Labor Zionism has become nearly synonymous with the Israeli peace camp. Usually Labor Zionist political and educational institutions activists are also advocates of a two-state solution
Two-state solution
The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the consensus solution that is currently under discussion by the key parties to the conflict, most recently at the Annapolis Conference in November 2007...

, who do not necessarily adhere to socialist economic views.

See also

  • Ameinu
    Ameinu
    Ameinu is an American Jewish Zionist organization. Established in 2004 as the successor to the Labor Zionist Alliance, it is the continuation of Labor Zionist activity in the United States that began with the founding of Poale Zion in 1905....

  • Farband
    Farband
    There were at least two American Jewish organizations colloquially known as the Farband -- the Communist-oriented Yidisher Kultur Farband and the Labor Zionist-oriented Yidish Natsionaler Arbeter Farband .-YKUF / Jewish Culture Association:The Yidisher Kultur Farband There were at least two...

  • Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed
    Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed
    Histadrut HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed , sometimes abbreiviated to No'al is an Israeli youth movement, a sister movement of Habonim Dror, the Labor Zionist movement....

  • Habonim Dror
    Habonim Dror
    Habonim Dror is a Jewish Labour Zionist youth movement formed by the merger in 1982 of the Habonim and Dror youth movements. Habonim Dror's sister movement in Israel is Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed, the Working and Studying Youth.-Ideology:...

  • Havlagah
    Havlagah
    HaHavlagah was a strategic policy used by the Haganah members with regard to actions taken against Arab groups who were attacking the Jewish settlement during the British Mandate of Palestine. Its core principles were fortification and abstention from taking revenge on Arabs by attacking innocent...

  • Hebrew labor
    Hebrew labor
    Hebrew labor refers to the concept of hiring Jewish workers in Ottoman and Mandate Palestine.-Ottoman era:During the Second Aliyah period many Jewish immigrants to Palestine sought year round jobs on the agricultural tracts and plantations of their co-religionists who had arrived during the First...

  • Histadrut
    Histadrut
    HaHistadrut HaKlalit shel HaOvdim B'Eretz Yisrael , known as the Histadrut, is Israel's organization of trade unions. Established in December 1920 during the British Mandate for Palestine, it became one of the most powerful institutions of the State of Israel.-History:The Histadrut was founded in...

  • Jewish left
    Jewish left
    The term "Jewish left" describes Jews who identify with or support left wing, occasionally liberal causes, consciously as Jews, either as individuals or through organizations. There is no one organization or movement which constitutes the "Jewish left," however...

  • Kibbutz
    Kibbutz
    A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

  • Left-wing nationalism
    Left-wing nationalism
    Left-wing nationalism describes a form of nationalism officially based upon equality, popular sovereignty, and national self-determination. It has its origins in the Jacobinism of the French Revolution. Left-wing nationalism typically espouses anti-imperialism...

  • Movement for Greater Israel
    Movement for Greater Israel
    The Movement for Greater Israel was a political organisation in Israel during the 1960s and 1970s which subscribed to an ideology of Greater Israel....

  • Rome and Jerusalem
    Rome and Jerusalem
    Rome and Jerusalem. The Last National Question is a book published by Moses Hess in 1862 in Leipzig. It gave impetus to the Labor Zionism movement...

    (text at Wikisource
    Wikisource
    Wikisource is an online digital library of free content textual sources on a wiki, operated by the Wikimedia Foundation. Its aims are to host all forms of free text, in many languages, and translations. Originally conceived as an archive to store useful or important historical texts, it has...

    ), a classic 1862 work on Labor Zionism by Moses Hess
    Moses Hess
    Moses Hess was a Jewish philosopher and socialist, and one of the founders of Labor Zionism.-Life:Hess was born in Bonn, which was under French rule at the time. In his French-language birth certificate, his name is given as "Moises"; he was named after his maternal grandfather...

  • The Founding Myths of Israel
    The Founding Myths of Israel
    The Founding Myths of Israel: Nationalism, Socialism, and the Making of the Jewish State is a book by Zeev Sternhell. It was published in Hebrew in 1995, in French in 1996 and in English in 1998. The stated purpose of the book is an analysis of the ideology and actions of labor Zionism in the...

    by Zeev Sternhell
    Zeev Sternhell
    Zeev Sternhell is an Israeli historian and one of the world's leading experts on Fascism. Sternhell headed the Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and writes for Haaretz newspaper.-Biography:...


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