Israel History1920HistadrutFounded
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The HISTADRUT FOUNDED The Histadrut was founded by members of the second Aliyah. It was established to provide a workers' union in Palestine.
Most members of the Second Aliyah arrived from Eastern Europe with a commitment to socialism. This commitment was initially manifested by their fight for the ideals of Jewish labor --Avodah Iv'rit. These immigrants also founded the socialist Zionist groups such as Hapo'el Ha'tza'ir, and Paolei Zion. In 1914, there was an aborted attempt to found a national labor union. The short- lived organization was called United Commission of Palestine Workers. In 1920, after renewed efforts, the workers of Palestine succeeded in organizing themselves into a united front -- the Histadrut. Four thousand, four hundred and thirty three voters took part in the election of delegates at the founding conference, held in Haifa. The opening resolution adopted by the conference read: " It is the aim of the United Federation of all the workers and laborers of Palestine who live by the sweat of their brows without exploiting the toil of others, to promote land settlement, to involve itself in all economic and cultural issues effecting labor in Palestine, and to build a Jewish workers society there." Thus the founders of the Histadrut set the stage for the union's development into a unique labor organization that, in addition to focusing on workers rights, developed powerful institutions to help establish a Jewish State in Palestine. The Histadrut established subsidiaries such as Solel Boneh, that became the country's largest builder. It established a newspaper -- Davar-- and created a bank (Bank Hapoalim), large stores (Hamashbir), and large industrial enterprises (Koor). This system worked effectively during the years of struggle to found and develop a Jewish State. In recent years, the Histadrut has found itself on both sides of the bargaining table in many labor disputes.