This article seeks to explain the demise of the Israeli labor movement during the two decades prior to the elections of 1977, which marked the rise of the Israeli right. I focus on a specific test case: Mifleget Ha-po‘alim Ha-meuhedet (United Workers’ Party), or Mapam, and its allied kibbutz movement, Ha-kibbuts Ha-artsi-Ha-shomer Ha-tsa'ir (Kibbutz Movement of the Young Guard). Although Mapam and Ha-kibbuts Ha-artsi were not the largest factions in the Israeli labor movement, they shared a similar sociopolitical power structure with the other parts of the labor movement, based on the model of a socialist mass party combining political, economic, and ideological elements. The structural element was key to the collapse of the Israeli labor movement, and the Israeli case is representative of a broader crisis of the left in the Western world in the second half of the twentieth century.
Jewish Social Studies plays an important role in advancing the understanding of Jewish life and the Jewish past. Key themes are issues of identity and peoplehood, the vistas opened by the integration of gender as a primary category in the study of history, and the multiplicities inherent in the evolution of Jewish societies and cultures around the world and over time. Regular features include work in anthropology, politics, sociology, religion, and literature, as well as case studies and theoretical discussions, all of which serve to rechart the boundaries of Jewish historical scholarship.
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