Histadrut

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The Histadrut ("Federation" [of labor]) or HaHistadrut HaKlalit shel HaOvdim B'Eretz Yisrael (ההסתדרות הכללית של העובדים בארץ ישראל) (Hebrew: "General Federation of Laborers in the Land of Israel") is the Israeli trade union congress.

It was founded in December 1920 in Haifa as a Jewish trade union which would also provide services for members such as an employment exchange, sick pay, and consumer benefits. Its initial goals were to provide a federation for all Jewish workers in the British Mandate of Palestine, promote land settlement, promote workers' rights against management and to promote Jewish employment despite the lower wages paid to Arabs. The Histadrut had approximately 4,400 members in 1920 and grew to 8,394 members in 1922 or just over half of the Jewish working class. By 1927 the body claimed 25,000 members or 75% of the Jewish workforce in Palestine.

The Histradrut 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 nation-building role made it the owner of a number of businesses and factories and the largest employer in the state.

Through its economic arm, Hevrat HaOvdim ("Society of Workers"), the Histadrut owned and operated a number of enterprises including the country's largest industrial conglomerates as well as the country's second largest bank, Bank HaPoalim. The Histadrut also provided a comprehensive health care system.

Its membership in 1983 was 1,600,000 (including dependants), accounting for more than one-third of the total population of Israel and about 85 percent 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.

With the increasing liberalisation 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.

External links

he:ההסתדרות הכללית של העובדים העברים בארץ ישראל

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