A State within a State: Industrial Relations in Israel, 1965-1987

By Ran Chermesh | Go to book overview

1
General Introduction

Introduction

This book describes and analyses strikes in Israel between the years 1965 and 1987. During these twenty-three years Israel underwent many important developments. First came the Six Day War ( 1967) which created a larger Israel, extending its control from the Jordan River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, from the Golan Heights in the north to the Suez Canal in the south. Then came the Yom Kippur War ( 1973), which demonstrated some of the limitations of the achievements gained during the 1967 war. The territorial buffers that had been established between Israel and its neighbors were not an absolute warranty against a dangerous enemy assault.

In 1977 there was a major development in the political arena. The Labor Alignment lost its position as the leading party group, and the Likud took over the government. This was the single most important internal political event since the declaration of independence in 1948. Following this political upheaval, Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian president, visited Jerusalem. Peace between Israel and its neighbors seemed closer than had ever been imagined.

However, a few years later, in 1982, Israel embarked on a military campaign in Lebanon, a campaign that gave rise to wide internal dissension. At the same time, an economic crisis brought the Israeli economy to the verge of hyper inflation. The failures of the Likud government almost cost it the 1984 general election. A deadlock in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, forced the two major opposing parties to form a "national unity" government, with a rotation agreement for the position of prime minister. Shimon Peres (Labor) served for the first two years, with Yitzhak Shamir (Likud) taking over for the following two years. The impasse in the political sphere was not overcome in the 1988 elections. Perforce, a second national unity government was formed, this time with the Likud somewhat strengthened. However, since the tenure of the second national unity government is beyond the scope of this work, further description is unwarranted.

The developments in the industrial relations (IR) arena during this period are also noteworthy. Since the Histadrut, the General Federation of Labor, is the dominant actor in this domain, it will be the focus of this introductory discussion. The Histadrut and the state share many common characteristics. Both are comprehensive democratic entities. In both, elections are held every four years. Both have adopted a relative, party list system of elections. Most

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