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Nation-building projects in the twentieth century were often linked to socialism, and the Zionist movement was no exception. After all, if you are going to build a new nation, why not build it free of the ugly exploitation, inequalities, and class conflicts of modern capitalism? It is therefore a great historical irony that Israel, built and for decades led by a hegemonic socialist movement, now has the dubious honor to be ranked together with the United States among the most economically unequal of developed countries. How did this happen? This is the question that Tal Elmaliach, a historian at the University of Haifa, sets out to answer in his book Hakibbutz Ha’artzi, Mapam, and the Demise of the Israeli Labor Movement. Published as part of a series in the Modern Intellectual and Political History of the Middle East, the book is based on the author’s doctoral dissertation and an earlier Hebrew-language monograph published in 2018, but it expands upon these works in major and important ways to highlight the significance of the research for an international audience. Although the book may appear at first glance to have a narrow scope, it speaks in fact to more general questions, which will surely make it of interest to nonspecialists in both history and the social sciences.
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Israel, Labor Movement, Class, Nation-Building Projects, Socialist Movement
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