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Full name General Federation of Labour in Israel
Native name HaHistadrut HaKlalit shel HaOvdim B'Eretz Yisrael
Founded 1920
Members 650,000
Affiliation ITUC
Key people Avi Nissenkorn, chairman
Office location Tel Aviv, Israel
Country Israel

HaHistadrut HaKlalit shel HaOvdim B'Eretz Yisrael (trade unions. Established in December 1920 during the British Mandate for Palestine, it became one of the most powerful institutions of Israel. Histadrut enterprises include: Koor Industries Ltd., Solel Boneh, and Kupat Holim Clalit.[1]


  • History 1
  • Hevrat HaOvdim 2
  • Goals 3
  • Leadership 4
  • Criticism 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The Histadrut was founded in December 1920 in

  • Histadrut: International Relations Department (scroll to the bottom for English)
  • Paradise Lost: Histadrut through the years
  • The Unmaking of the Histadrut

External links

  1. ^ Histadrut Koor Inustrial Holdings
  2. ^ The Birth of Israel, 1945–1949: Ben-Gurion and His Critics, Joseph Heller, p. 7
  3. ^ a b Z. Tzahor, "The Histadrut", in Essential papers on Zionism, 1996, Reinharz & Shapira (eds.) ISBN 0-8147-7449-0
  4. ^ Lokman, Zachary. Comrades and Enemies—Arab and Jewish Workers in Palestine 1906–1948. University of California Press. 1996. ISBN 0-520-20259-7.
  5. ^ The Economy - 1948-72
  6. ^ Column One: Israel: The happy little country
  7. ^ "Israel general strike enters second day, as negotiations continue". Haaretz. February 9, 2012. Retrieved February 9, 2012. The Histadrut demanded the state hire the subcontracted workers directly, especially the cleaning workers. Those who were not hired directly must receive the same wages, benefits and terms as the regular employees doing the same work, the labor federation insisted. 
  8. ^ Isabel Kershner (February 12, 2012). "Strike Ends as Israel and Unions Reach Pact". The New York Times. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 
  9. ^ Z. Sternhell, The founding myths of Israel, 1998, pp. 3–36, ISBN 0-691-01694-1, p. 179–80
  10. ^ Z. Tzahor, "The Histadrut", in Essential papers on Zionism, 1996, Reinharz & Shapira (eds.) ISBN 0-8147-7449-0, p. 476
  11. ^ a b Z. Tzahor, "The Histadrut", in Essential papers on Zionism', 1996, Reinharz & Shapira (eds.) ISBN 0-8147-7449-0, p. 486
  12. ^ Z. Sternhell, The founding myths of Israel, 1998, [p. 3–36, ISBN 0-691-01694-1
  13. ^ a b Z. Tzahor, "The Histadrut", in Essential papers on Zionism, 1996, Reinharz & Shapira (eds.) ISBN 0-8147-7449-0, p. 505–506
  14. ^
  15. ^ First ever outsider named to Histadrut post
  16. ^ Histadrut to allow migrant workers to join for first time.


See also

The Histadrut has been criticized by European worker unions and international human rights groups over its failure to represent migrant workers, considered to be the most maltreated employees in Israel. In 2009, the Histadrut began accepting memberships of migrant workers.[16]


[15] In 2010, then-chairman [14] The chairman of the Histadrut today is Avi Nissenkorn.


According to Tzahor, while the Histadrut focused on constructive action, its leaders did not "abandon fundamental ideological principles".[13] However according to Ze'ev Sternhell in his book The Founding Myths of Israel, the labor leaders had already abandoned socialist principles by 1920 and only used them as "mobilizing myths".

By 1930 the Histadrut had become the central organisation of the Yishuv. It did what the Zionist Executive wanted, but was unable to do: absorb immigrants and organise agricultural settlement, defense and expansion into new areas of production. According to Tzahor the Histadrut had become "the executive arm of the Zionist movement—but an arm acting on its own". It had become a "state in the making".[13]

[3] Absorption of immigration was seen as a very important task of the Histadrut. Providing immigrants with work was often seen as more important than the financial soundness of its operations. The labor leaders saw failure to absorb immigrants as a

Ben-Gurion transformed the Histadrut in a few months. He set up a well-defined hierarchy and reduced the competencies of local workers' councils. He also centralised the collection of membership dues, most of which were formerly used up by local branches.[11]

[...] Our central problem is immigration ... and not adapting our lives to this or that doctrine. [...] How can we run our Zionist movement in such a way that [... we] will be able to carry out the conquest of the land by the Jewish worker, and which will find the resources to organise the massive immigration and settlement of workers through their own capabilities? The creation of a new Zionist movement, a Zionist movement of workers, is the first prerequisite for the fulfillment of Zionism. [...] Without [such] a new Zionist movement that is entirely at our disposal, there is no future or hope for our activities

In the first year of its existence the Histadrut lacked central leadership, and many initiatives were taken at the local level. This changed after David Ben-Gurion became appointed in the General Secretariat. Ben-Gurion wanted to transform the Histadrut into a national instrument for the realisation of Zionism.[11] According to Zeev Sternhell[12] Ben-Gurion's exclusive commitment to this goal is illustrated by a December 1922 quote:

The initial aim of the Histadrut was to take responsibility for all spheres of activity of the workers movement: settlement, defense, trade unions, education, housing construction, health, banking, cooperative ventures, welfare and even culture.[10] The Histadrut took over economic firms operated by the parties, which operated by subcontracting, and their Office of Information, which was expanded into a Labor Exchange. Already after a few months the Histadrut became the single largest employer in the Yishuv. The Histadrut succeeded in improving worker's rights as e.g. the right to strike was recognised, employers had to motivate dismissal and workers got a place to turn to with their complaints.


Histadrut membership[9]
year members percent of Jewish workforce
1920 4,415 ...
1923 8,394 45
1927 22,538 68
1933 35,389 75
1939 100,000 75
1947 176,000 ...

Through its economic arm, Hevrat HaOvdim ("Society of Workers"), the Histadrut owned and operated a number of enterprises, including the country's largest industrial Kupat Holim Clalit.

Hevrat HaOvdim

[8] A settlement was announced on Sunday, February 12, which provided for some gains by the subcontractors, but also for a 3 year moratorium on further strikes over subcontractor issues.[7] Following its support of the

With the increasing liberalization and deregulation of the Israeli economy since the 1980s, the role and size of Histradrut has declined, though it still remains a powerful force in Israeli society and the nation's economy.

Membership in 1983 was 1,600,000 (including dependants), accounting for more than one-third of the total population of Israel and about 85% of all wage earners. About 170,000 Histadrut members were Arabs (who were admitted to membership starting in 1959). In 1989, the Histadrut was the employer of approximately 280,000 workers.

The Histadrut became one of the most powerful institutions in the state of Israel, a mainstay of the Labour Zionist movement and, aside from being a trade union, its state-building role made it the owner of a number of businesses and factories and, for a time, the largest employer in the country. Until Israel began moving away from a socialist economy, the Histadrut, along with the government, owned most of the economy. In particular, the Israeli services sector was completely dominated by the Histadrut and government, and the Histadrut also largely dominated public transport, agriculture, and insurance industries. The Histadrut and government also owned a significant portion of Israel's industrial sector.[5][6]

Membership grew from 4,400 in 1920 and to 8,394 members in 1922. By 1927, the Histadrut had 25,000 members, accounting for 75% of the Jewish workforce in Mandatory Palestine. [4] was elected as Secretary.David Ben-Gurion At the end of 1921 [3]

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