Unemployment Insurance, Trade Unions and the strange case of the Israeli Labour Movement

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The goal of this paper is to investigate the relationship between the labour movement and unemployment insurance (UI). Following a brief overview of the evolution of the approach of labour movements towards UI, the focus shifts to an analysis of a case study of the Israeli labour movement. The study traces the development of the approach of this movement towards UI during the pre-state period and following the establishment of Israel. It indicates that, while the policy adopted by the Israeli labour movement in the pre-state period was similar to that of other labour movements, the motivation differed in that the goals of the Israeli movement were primarily nationalist. In the post-independence period, the labour movement objected to the adoption of UI and prevented the introduction of this programme for two decades. The reasons for this are linked to the values and perceptions of the labour movement leadership and the legacies of policies adopted during the pre-state period.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)357-396
Number of pages40
JournalInternational Review of Social History
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1997

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
* The research on this paper was supported by a grant from the Lavon Institute. I am grateful to Yitshak Eylam (Finkelstein) for a long interview he granted me as part of my research efforts. I am also grateful for the comments of three anonymous referees.


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