Strikes and stones: stone quarries in the Southern Triangle as a site for shaping ethnic segregation, industrial relations, and labor militancy in Israel, 1949-1952

Oded Marck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In the early years following Israel’s establishment, the country’s stone industry was set to advance key Zionist objectives: supplying construction materials to house Jewish immigrants and creating employment opportunities for them. However, this policy faced a significant challenge when quarry owners preferred to hire cheaper, unorganized Palestinian workers. This was particularly pronounced in the Southern Triangle region, where Palestinians lived in close proximity to Israeli Jewish urban centers. These Palestinian quarry workers, who were compelled to endure harsh working conditions, discrimination, and exploitation, are the focus of this article. By focusing on Palestinian quarry workers in the Southern Triangle between 1949–1952, the article aims to explore the origins of the political and economic inferiority of Palestinians in Israel. It delves into how this inferiority was constructed and the underlying motivations. Furthermore, the article uncovers previously overlooked Palestinian labor mobilization in the face of rigid oppression by employers and the state. This mobilization, it is argued, led to a shift in government and labor union policies towards Palestinians–from establishing and justifying a racial wage gap between Jewish and Palestinian workers to striving for wage standardization.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLabor History
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Israel
  • Palestinians
  • labor history
  • stone quarries
  • strikes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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