Conquest of Labor ('Kibbush 'Avoda)

Entry in the Encyclopaedia of Zionism and Israel (ed. Patai), excerpts

Doctrine (...) stressing the importance of Jewish labor as the basis for a Jewish society in Palestine. By the beginning of the 20th century, the development and consolidation of the Jewish agricultural settlements, especially those in Judea and Samaria, had reached a stage at which they were in need of hired labor. Most of the laborers employed were Arabs [Palestinian]; some worked on a permanent basis, but by far the larger number were seasonal workers drawn from neighboring Arab villages. Joseph Aronowicz, leader of the HaPo'el HaTza'ir party and editor of its weekly, preached the replacement of Arab labor by Jewish labor, not only because of the need to provide employment for Second 'Aliya immigrants but because without Jewish hired labor a Jewish majority in Palestine would be unattainable. Palestine would not be made Jewish by the mere possession of title to properties or merely by Jewish management but only by the performance by Jews of their own manual labor, whether on the farm or in the factory; in other words, only the 'Conquest of Labor' by Jews and not merely the 'conquest' of land by purchase (sic) would assure the realization of Zionism and the attainment of a Jewish majority.


Note by Elias Davidsson:
The implication of the above Zionist policy is that of total economic segregation between the Zionist immigrants and the native Palestinian Arab population. Thus the segregationist policies of Zionist were at that time markedly different and more radically segregationist (and racist) than South-African Apartheid, in which the native black majority were integrated as exploited labor in white-dominated industry. Zionism in Palestine did not consider the native Palestinian Arabs as partners in building up the country, but as a population to be excluded. Although Zionist ideology today follows the same pattern of total segregation, practice in the State of Israel had tended to follow the South African model of apartheid, that is the integration of Palestinian Arabs as exploited labor and their maintenance in self-rule ghettos.