Palestinian workers in Israel: a reserve army of labour - Emmanuel Farjoun

In-depth study of the conditions of Palestinian workers in Israel and their function in the Israeli economy.

Submitted by Ed on September 12, 2013

Palestinian workers in Israel: a reserve army of labour - Emanuel Farjoun

The following is a translation of a survey published in Hebrew as a pamphlet (Dapim Adumim no 5, Jerusalem, May 1978) by the Socialist Organisation in Israel- Matzpen.


In Israeli parlance the term 'Arab', which denotes a member of the Arab society in the areas ruled by Israel, has a dual connotation. First, the Arab is a person born and bred in the Palestinian-Arab society, a non-Jewish resident in the Jewish State. Secondly, the Arab is a worker, who arrives early in the morning from his village to build houses and roads, clean, do the garden, repair cars and fill them with petrol; and who at night usually goes back home - to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Galilee or the Triangle.

The Arab as a person is seen as an abomination. His very existence mars the Jewishness of the State of Israel. He belongs to that Arab people with which the Jewish settlers' society has been contending since its very beginning. As the writer A. B. Yehoshua puts it: 'Therefore was this nation severely enjoined to be strictly apart, without the nearby gentile. . . There is nothing more dangerous than allowing the gentile back into our midst (and he is very deep in our midst, entirely woven into our ecomomic infrastructure, but penetrating also into other spheres of our life.)'1

Israeli society persecutes the Arab person - and therefore hates him. It makes every attempt to conceal his very existence and even to remove him beyond the pale of its dominion. He cannot join a kibbutz or a moshav, the crowning glory of Israeli society. Most Jewish towns and villages in Israel are closed to him by virtue of local or national regulations (in the whole of Israel there are just six towns and townships with mixed Arab and Jewish population). In the evening, after work, he cannot walk about unharassed in the streets of Tel-Aviv, but must huddle in a dark corner behind a locked and bolted door, or go back home to his village. Even the term 'Arab' does not appear in Israeli official statistics, which recognises 'only one national group in Israel - Jews. The rest are 'minorities', 'non-Jews' 'Moslems', 'Christians', 'Druse', and so forth.

The Arab as a worker is, on the contrary, an acceptable and welcome member of the household in many quarters of Israeli society - and it is precisely this which enrages 'liberals' like A. B. Yehoshua. He is admitted into the kitchens and gardens of the Israeli elite, where he cooks, cleans and digs; he is welcome on building sites, petrol stations, timber yards and factories; and he is even allowed into army camps. The gates were opened wide for him in 1966, when structural changes were made in the Military Rule (under which the Arabs inside Israel have been living since 1948) and the daily pass system was waived, allowing masses of Arab workers fairly free movement throughout Israel (except the south of the country) . The Histadrut (General Federation of Labour), a cornerstone of the Israeli establishment, not only allowed him to join - for the first time since its foundation in 1922 - but even changed its name for his sake: it used to be 'The General Federation of Hebrew Workers in Eretz Yisrael', but now the word 'Hebrew' was dropped.

As we shall see, the Arab worker has become a decisive factor in major sectors of the Israeli economy: construction, road building, tourism, agriculture and various branches of industry. He is gradually penetrating typical Israeli industrial production areas: food processing, textile, manufacture of building materials and many other industries.

We shall attempt in this survey to describe the characteristics of the Arab labour force in Israel. In other words, we shall largely ignore the Arab's status as a person, as a citizen and as a member of the Palestinian Arab people, though this is a vitally important aspect of the national and class structure of the emergent Israeli society. We shall try to focus on the role of Arab workers in Israel's economy - workers both from within the 'green line' and from outside it, that is from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The obvious difficulty in trying to distinguish between the two aspects and to isolate the purely economic side of the story is illustrated in the following frank journalistic account, written by Ya'ir Kottler in an article about the Home Guard and its role as guardian of Jewish purity in Tel-Aviv:

'The time is two hours before midnight. In the back seat of the jeep sit two young volunteers armed with guns and ammunition. The mission - rombing through Shuq Hakarmel [Tel-Aviv's main market] . They search for Arabs spending the night in Tel-Aviv - in tiny nooks, on building sites, in warehouses, even under greengrocers' stalls. They are not supposed to stay on in the Jewish city beyond 1.00 a.m. unless they have special permits, which most of the workers from the occupied territories, who flood into Tel-Aviv and the neighbouring towns, do not have. .. The Home Guard is helping the police. The frightened Arabs, unaware of the police-like authority of this civil militia, answer questions and show their papers. They are harrassed. They are temporarily detained at a base near a large elementary school. Before 1.00 a.m. they cannot be arrested. They can be harrassed, though. This is precisely what is done. The district police chief, Commander Moshe Tiomkin, states in an interview that in his district, inhabited by 1.1 million people, there are already 70,000 Arabs from the occupied territories - 50 per cent of these in Tel-Aviv proper. This is, by 108 Palestinian workers in Israel any standard, an astonishing figure. The police cannot cope with the problem. It seeks the help of the Home Guard. But the volunteers have not joined the Guard in order to become policemen in disguise, hunting and interrogating Arab workers who seek night shelter from the law in dark holes, in locked poulterers' shops, in back yards and in rented rooms in Jewish homes, always for a few dozen liras per bed per night. 'Can we detain thousands? If we do this,' says Tiomkin, 'we would be screwing ourselves. Next morning the big city would lose its workers. They are building the city.' If they are detained there would be no one to clean the streets. . . Somewhere near the beach we stopped three Arabs. One was terrified - he had no papers; he had come to work with a friend from Hebron. The Hebronite, 19 years of age, has been working in Tel-Aviv for the last 5 years (i.e. since he was 14 - E.F .), mostly as a night watchman, earning 70 IL a day, sometimes more. He wouldn't give up his work in Tel-Aviv for a state of his own. He simply fell in love with the Hebrew city, with its girls and its sights. Jews don't know how to work, he says, adding that Shuq Hakarmel is full of Arabs from Gaza. Commander Tiomkin is of the opinion that the increase in crime in the district, particularly in Tel-Aviv, is a result, amongst other things, of the presence of tens of thousands of Arabs from the occupied territories. They remind him of a 'slave market'2

The present survey does not, in fact, deal with the overall role of the Palestinian Arabs in the Israeli economy, but examines their contribution as workers, be it labourers, or skilled and self-employed workers; since the Arab labour force in Israel consists mainly of hired or self-employed workers. The capitalist stratum within Arab society inside Israel is very small and there are few Arabs in administrative jobs. Arab society in Israel has a limited economic base: according to official reports3 there were only three Arab-owned industrial enterprises in Israel in 1976. In Israel's political economy a factory can neither be opened nor continue to exist without active government aid, but the State institutions do not permit even the most consistently collaborationist villages to develop Arab-owned industrial zones (see, for example, an article about the village of Cana, Ha'aretz, 4.11.1977). Two of the above-mentioned enterprises are small sewing shops and the third is a metal works (200 workers) in the village of Yarka in the Galilee. Even if one or two new enterprises have come into existence in the last couple of years, the fact remains that there is no Arab capitalist bourgeoisie in Israel. Moreover, even Jewish-owned enterprises are hardly ever located in Arab villages: according to latest reports there are some fifty small enterprises, mostly sewing shops and carpentries. The bourgeoisie of the Arab sector is a petit-bourgeoisie made up of traders and agricultural producers. More than 70 per cent of the total Arab labour force are hired workers, mostly in production: construction, agriculture, industry; and in private-sector services such as hotels, restaurants and so forth. Only a small proportion work as clerks, or in the public services, in finanoe or in the professions. Thus the Arabs' almost exclusive contribution to the Israeli economy is as productive workers, from whose labour someone - a contractor, an industrialist, a businesman - profits directly. Only few of them are self-employed: farmers, sub-contractors and so on.

The Specific Role of the Arab Worker

If one follows the development of this labour force, its composition, the sectors in which it concentrates and its socio-economic characteristics, one discovers that there is a definite regularity in the development of the Arabs' place and role in the economy.

Throughout the history of zionist colonisation, the Jewish Yishuv tried, on the whole, to create a society based on purely Jewish labour, at least in Some focal areas. But the natural development of a capitalist economy as well as the recurrent clashes with the Arab world led to an ever-increasing concentration of Jewish labour in definite 'strategic' sectors of production. At first this meant agricultural production - settling on the land, erecting purely Jewish colonies, moshavim and kibbutzim on every possible site. (The rules of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) were framed for that very end, forbidding the purchase, lease or cultivation of its lands by non-Jews.) Other such sectors were the diamond industry and the ports.

With the establishment of the State and the mass deportation of Arabs from hundreds of villages, came the expropriation of most of the Arab lands, in order to sieze control of the main asset - the soil - and create the pre-condition for Jewish domination of agricultural production. On the other hand, the now largely landless Arab population remaining under Israeli rule increased apace. (More than half of that population was 'acquired' by Israel in 1949 as a result of the Rhodes agreements and the change in the cease-fire line in the area of the Triangle and Wadi 'Ara.) From 160,000 at the end of 1949, the Arab population inside Israel grew to 400,000 in 1967, and reached 550,000 in 1978. This created a heavy pressure of workers willing to work for low wages and in bad conditions.

At the same time, an important change occurred in the Israeli economy with the development of an Israeli armament industry in the sixties, and particularly with the decisive changes both in the geopolitical map of the country and in the balance of power between Israel and the Arab world as a result of the 1967 war - changes which brought about a huge influx of capital into Israel, and turned it from a privileged protege of the West into an ally having the status of a local power. Following these changes, agriculture ceased to fulfIl a strategic role and the accelerated economic development both in agriculture and in industry created an ever-increasing demand for a cheap, mobile and under- privileged labour force: a 'free' labour force in the classical economic sense.

This demand was met by the Arab workers from the new territories acquired by Israel as well as by 'Israeli' Arab workers, who were just beginning to flow into the market in large numbers.

Because of the need to sustain a settlers' society, living on its sword, in constant and expensive conflict with the world around it, it was necessary to grant the Jews special privileges and to try to secure for them at all costs a relatively high standard of living, in order to prevent Jewish emigration (yeridah) and help maintain maximal political stability. These imperatives imposed policial constraints upon the Israeli bourgeoisie's freedom of economic action vis-a-vis the Jewish worker. This applies particularly to that part of the bourgeoisie which was then in power, represented by the Labour Party and Mapam - the bureaucratic bourgeoisie of the public sector. Security of employment and income, and a standard of living higher than in the surrounding Arab world, became cornerstones of the Israeli political system. Therefore, while the accelerated economic development after 1967 created the above-mentioned demand for a 'free' labour force - cheap, mobile, without job security, without political respresentation - this demand could not be met from amongst Jewish workers.

The post-1967 military and political development created also a huge demand for Jewish labour in the armament industry, in the army and in the general administration of the extended colony. The inevitable result was that Arab workers began to form a decisive part of the Israeli economy's free labour force, in the above-mentioned sense, which until then had consisted mainly of oriental Jews. We shall show that since 1967 the Arab labour force has become (along with the lowest strata of the Jewish proletariat, made up mainly of oriental Jews) a major and indispensable element. Thus the Israeli civilian economy, particularly in the private sector, is becoming largely dependent on Arab labour. The national division of the population in the territories ruled by Israel is increasingly becoming an economically significant division: on the one hand the privileged group employed in industries and services connected with the State, and army and strategic production - a protected group, enjoying a certain monopoly and virtual security of tenure, and whose working conditions are constantly improving through organised struggles and political pressures (through the Histadrut, the Labour Party etc.); and on the other hand the 'free' part of the working class, which gives the private economy its flexibility, its capacity to adjust to crises. It is the latter group which makes the manpower reservoir into. a labour market in the classical capitalist sense and constitutes, as the title of this article indicates, the reserve army of the Israeli economy.

At the same time, this free labour force gives the private bourgeoisie, both in agriculture and in industry, a degree of independence of the Histadrut, the State institutions and the bureaucracy. This is one of the sources of strength of the private bourgeoisie, as opposed to the state-bureaucratic bourgeoisie (the Histadrut, the kibbutzim etc.). The Histadrut cannot use strikes to pressurise a private businessman employing Arabs, since when it comes to Arabs they are in the same boat; a strike by Arab workers would endanger both sectors. Moreover, due to the relative abundance of Arab workers in the Israeli economy, their manoeuvring space is limited and their bargaining powers almost nil. Thus the Arab labour force has contributed to the historical tendency of the strengthening of the private bourgeoisie in Israel in relation to the state-bureaucratic bourgeoisie, a tendency which has gathered momentum since 1967. This sometimes gives rise to apparently absurd situations, when representatives of the state-bureaucratic bourgeoisie, like A.B. Yehoshua who is a 'left' zionist, talk and act more dogmatically, in a harsher and more racist way against the 'Arab presence' in Israel than their counterparts on the right, some of whom would like the two nations to live together - under the iron hand of the Israeli army, to be sure.

Scope of this Survey

This survey is mainly statistical and attempts to sketch the development and present position of the Arab working class in Israel, using mainly official Israeli publications and, to a lesser extent, occasional articles published in the Israeli press. But the figures, though indicating the general picture, tell only a small part of the story of the Arab workers in Israel: in order to tell the whole story a full sociological study would be needed. A short visit to an Israeli town may afford a glimpse into a reality which no figures could ever express.

Take Beersheba, for example - a town 'cleansed' of its pre-1948 Arab inhabitants, like hundreds of other towns and villages captured by the Israeli army during the 1948 war, and which now has a population of about 100,000. Over the years, it has attracted thousands of Bedouin-Arab workers from the whole Negev. Most of these Arabs were peasants, driven off their lands by the kibbutzim and moshavim whose aim it was to 'make the desert bloom'. Those workers cannot, of course, live inside Beersheba; the houses they build are destined not for Arabs but for new Jewish immigrants, or for Jewish workers, for example. As a result, Beersheba is row surrounded by a belt of shanties where the Arab workers reside. These shanty towns, from which the workers emerge each morning in order to build Beersheba and work in its factories, have no running water, sewerage, electricity, or roads. Uke the black townships in South Africa, the legality of their very existence is doubtful and with the expansion of the town they will no doubt be bulldozed further away, out of the town's boundaries. Such townships tell more about these workers than cart-loads of figures. They exist round other cities in Israel, like Ramleh and Haderah.

The government and its 'settlements minister', Arik Sharon, keep rerninging us that tens of thousands of Bedouins have 'infIltrated the coastal pain' - into the heart of the Jewish state. Mister Sharon forgets that these very same Bedouin 'infIltrators' fIll his car with petrol and work on his large farm and that with their 'infIltration' many Israeli firms, including nDst of the agricultural export sector, would grind to a halt.

This survey hardly touches upon any of these social aspects.

The survey has four chapters. The first deals with the whole working population and with the reserve force of the Israeli economy. It will be seen that the Jewish industrial reserve force in Israel has been greatly depleted - all skilled and serni-skilled Jewish workers are fully, though not always most efficiently, employed, in spite of five years of deep recession since the 1973 war. The manpower problem is of course related to the general population balance between the two national groups: the Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. In this chapter we shall see, for instance, that the growth of the Arab labour force is twice as fast as that of the Jewish.

The second chapter deals with the distribution of the Arab labour force, both from the occupied territories and from Israel, between the various sectors and enterprises. It will be seen that in the main productive industries and occupations, where someone makes a direct profit out of the workers' labour, the Arabs' relative contribution is much greater than their proportion in the population and in the general labour force. We shall also try to estimate their relative contribution to the overall output of workers in Israel.

The third chapter reviews an important characteristic of the Arab working class - its mobility, which distinguishes it sharply from the Jewish working class. This very mobility makes it a 'free' labour force economically speaking, subject to the fluctuations of the market. The recent recession, which caused no unemployment in the Jewish sector, reduced dramatically the number of Arab workers, particularly from the West bank, in certain branches of employment.

The fourth chapter deals with wages and working conditions. This chapter is on the border line of statistical research and in order to cover this subject fully one would have to study the social conditions of the Arab working class - which is beyond the scope of this work. We shall see, however, that not only is the average per capita income of the Arab workers half that of the Jewish hired workers, but also that within each occupation there is a difference of up to 40 per cent between the wages of Arab and Jewish workers.

The Arab Working Class Population

Even a cursory glance at the population statistics of the two national groups in Israel - Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs - shows that the latter's contribution to the labour force far exceeds its relative size. For the moment let us confine our selves to the population of Israel proper, within the 'green line'. Among the Arabs the median age is 15, whereas the median Jewish age is 22; only 3.4 per cent of Israel's Arab population is above retirement age (65 years), whereas among the Jews the proportion is almost three times as high - about 9 per cent. There are in Israel approximately three million Jews and half a million Arabs - a ratio of 6 to 1. But, as a result of the different age structures, the respective annual increase of the economically most active age groups (20 - 65) is in the ratio of less than 3 to 1. In fact, during the last few years Jewish population in this age group increased by about 24,000 anually, while the corresponding figure for the Arab population was about 9,000.4 This high rate of growth of the potential Arab labour force is less surprising if we remember that despite Jewish immigration the overall annual rate of increase of the Arab population (4 per cent) is twice that of the Jewish population (2 per cent). Every year there are some 60,000 additional Jews, compared to 20,000 Arabs. Already the number of Arab children (ages 1 to 10) is one third that of Jewish children.5

To sum up: whereas the number of Arabs in Israel is one sixth that of Jews, the size of the potential Arab labour force (counting Israeli citizens only) is one third that of the potential Jewish labour force: for every three Jews added to the labour force reservoir, one Arab is also added.

In addition to these figures, one has to consider some deeper factors. For example, the data on youth labour show that among Jewish youth (ages 14 - 17) about 23 per cent belong to the labour force (this is, are working or seeking employment); whereas the corresponding proportion among Arabs is considerably higher - 37 per cent.6 Moreover, the part played by secondary education is incomparably smaller among Arabs than among Jews. This, of course, is a result of a deliberate policy. This policy was expressed, long before the famous 'Koenig report', by the then 'Adviser to the Prime Minister on Arab affairs', Uri Lubrani, who wrote in Ha'aretz: 'It might have been better if there were no Arab students, Had they remained hewers of wood and drawers of water it might have been easier to govern them. But there are things beyond our control. We cannot prevent this, but we should think of ways to localise the problem',7 This approach manifests itself in the token government support given to Arab education and Arab local authorities, which is totally out of proportion to their numbers. The disproportion can be measured, for instance, by the number of secondary school teachers: 1 ,800 in the Arab sector as opposed to 24,500 in Jewish schools; so less than 7 per cent of secondary teachers are working in the Arab sector, although its secondary school population constitutes 20 per cent of the total.

But Arab workers resident in Israel constitute only about half of the Arab workers employed in Israel. The other half comes from the occupied territories (the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) and several hundred even come from Lebanon, Then there are also the workers from East Jerusalem, officially annexed to the State of Israel and appearing in most official publications as part of Israeli statistics.

Including East Jerusalem, there were about 540,000 Arabs in Israel in 1978, of whom some 110,000 belonged to the labour force, according to official figures. However, for several reasons these figures must be taken with a grain of salt. They are based on serveys and questionnaires and obviously some people do not report that they are working, in order to avoid income tax. Also it seems that only a small part of Arab working women are included in those statistics, according to which only 10,000 Arab women resident in Israel belong to the labour force, In fact, thousands of women do agricultural work on domestic plots or are employed by labour contractors in small spinning mills in their own villages or in seasonal work such as fruit picking - and many of them certainly do not appear in official statistics. But a similar statistical distortion occurs, perhaps to the same extent, in official data on the Jewish labour force; so by ignoring it we shall probably not distort too much our estimate of the numerical proportion between the two national groups. (Note however that among the Jews it is mainly the self-employed in commerce and services who belong to the unofficial 'black' economy; whereas in the case of Arabs it is, on the contrary, mostly workers employed by 'black' employers.)

On the other hand, official statistics of workers from the occupied territories employed in Israel are completely unreliable. Here are the official figures for 1977.

Population and Labour Force in the Occupied Territories, 19778

These figures were derived from questionaires put to a representative sample of some 2,000 extended families in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. They are not a report based directly on the situation on the ground, since few employers would report accurately how many workers from the occupied territories they employ. There are many reasons for this: for one thing, these workers are legally forbidden to stay inside Israel overnight: also, the employer wants to avoid paying income tax, insurance for the workers, and so forth.

The official statistician, Hanokh Smith, director of the Manpower Planning Authority, has the following to say about workers from the occupied territories employed in the Beersheba region: 'According to official data there are about 5,000 workers from Judea and Samaria, but in reality the number is at least double.'9 The Tel-Aviv police commander said late in 1977 that in Tel-Aviv alone 70,000 workers arrive every morning from the occupied territories.10

The Ministry of Labour itself reports11 that it has in its possession a card index of 150,000 workers from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip who have at some time worked in Israel. These workers were of course employed officially, through the labour exchanges. (This figure does not seem to tally with the official overall figure of the labour force in the occupied territories, namely 203,000, even if we take into consideration that these are cumulative records of ten years of occupation.) According to the same report, approximately 60,000 workers from the occupied territories are currently registered and employed through the labour exchanges.12 The labour exchange for the Gaza Strip and the north of Sinai, for example, has reported a steady decline in the number of workers registering with it. Among the reasons given is the red tape involved in the payment of wages, hence the attraction of getting a job through a private labour contractor ra'is who pays on the spot. It also seems that official wages paid through the labour exchanges are lower than those paid on the open market. They are also taxed and subjected to all sorts of other deductions such as pension contribution, which no Gaza Strip worker wants to pay, since there is no guarantee he will get anything in return for them when he reaches retirement age.

The following is a sample of the Gaza Strip labour exchange records, giving the numbers (in thousands) of registered workers during the last few years:13

These figures show a sharp decline, even during the economic boom years 1969-73, when there was actually an enormous increase in the number of workers from the occupied territories working in Israel.

According to the Ministry of labour report, for every five registered workers, there are four who work unofficially.

In view of all this, there is no doubt that the number of workers from the occupied territories working in Israel averages 100,000 at least - more during the busy seasons in agriculture and in construction, less during other seasons. It follows that the total number of Arabs employed by the Israeli economy is about 210,000 men and women, or some 17 per cent of the total labour force.

The importance of this labour force derives also from the fact that in Israel the rate of participation in the civilian labour force (that is, the percentage of persons employed or seeking employment in the total population) is among the lowest in the world - just 33 per cent. By way of comparison: the corresponding figure for England is 46 per cent, Switzerland - 48 per cent, Holland -38 per cent, Hong Kong - 45 per cent, Japan - 48 per cent and Rumania - 54 per cent. Israel, in fact, is in the same category as countries like India (33 per cent) and Sudan (29 per cent). Actually, the true figure for Israel must be somewhat higher than the official statistics; but even so, it is quite low for an industrial country. One reason for this is the size of the standing army which sawllows up huge quantities of manpower. Also, in comparison with other industrial countries Israel has relatively few people engaged in agriculture, construction and industrial production.

Israel's accelerated development, the development of the economic infrastructure and the large capital investments in the years 1967-73 would have been impossible without the Arab labour force, and particularly the workers from the occupied territories.

The Bank of Israel Annual Report for 1976 has the following to say regarding the role of Arab labour from the occupied territories:

'The workers from the [occupied] territories, who entered employment in the Israeli economy on a large scale until 1974, have begun to be ejected from it in the last two years. The economic boom in the Arab countries and in the [occupied] territories themselves has made this ejection easier. [But] in spite of attractions outside the Israeli economy, the determinant cause for their employment or ejection is the volume of the Israeli demand for these workers. This is apparent from the differential development in the various branches: in 1976 about 6,000 workers from the [occupied] territories left the construction industry, which has been contracting rapidly, while in the manufacturing industry and the services the number of employees from the [occupied] territories went up, probably in parallel with the growth of exports and tourism.
'These workers, whose wages are lower than those of Israeli workers, and whose real as well as relative wages went down in 1976, have gained an almost exclusive hold on various kinds of labouring jobs in construction, in agriculture and in services (including hotels, which have benefited this year from an increase in tourism). The slow-down of the Israeli economy has not yet harmed them, except insofar as this was unavoidable due to their concentration in some branches (like construction), since competition on the part of Israelis is diminishing constantly both because of the rise in the level of education within the Israeli labour force and because family allowances to Israeli families reduce the incentive to compete for labouring jobs, the wages for which are low and getting even lower. There is a difference between the inhabitants of Judea and Sam aria [the West Bank] and those of the Gaza Strip working in Israel. The former find it easier to get work in the Arab countries and their numbers in the Israeli economy have decreased in the last two years. They are being replaced by workers from the Gaza Strip whose numbers have increased in 1976 in all branches of employment in Israel.14

This report touches - albeit insufficiently - upon the three most important characteristics of the whole Arab labour force: First, its absolute dependence on market forces. We shall deal with this in the chapter on the mobility of the Arab labour force. Secondly, its concentration in certain sectors; though, as we shall see in the next chapter, it does not limit itself to labouring jobs only. Thirdly, the low price of Arab labour power, with which we shall deal in the chapter on the Arab workers' wage structure.

Distribution of the Arab labour force by sector and occupation

As we have seen, the Arab labour force (including that from the occupied territories) constitutes 17 per cent, or one sixth, of the total in the Israeli economy. In order to assess the real contribution of this labour force and its role in the economy, we shall examine its distribution, compared with that of the Jewish labour force, according to three criteria:

  • Sector of employment: agriculture, construction, services, finance, etc.
  • Occupation within each sector: skilled worker in an industry as against service worker in that same industry, teacher, clerk, scientist, etc.
  • Place of employment, by ownership and size: public or private, large plant or small workshop.

An important feature of the development of the Jewish hired labour force in Israel is its growing concentration in service sectors such as administration, finance and commerce; and its steady decline in the basic production sectors - manufacturing industry, construction and agriculture - as well as in service occupations within business (cleaning jobs in factories and offices, waiting in restaurants etc.) This trend towards re-deployment can be measured in two ways. First, in absolute figures: for example, we may determine how the number of Jewish industrial workers has evolved over the years. Secondly, in relative figures: here we ask how the proportion of industrial workers in the total Jewish labour force has varied from year to year. It is of course the latter index which is of greater interest, since in any case the total labour force has grown with the increase in population, and the main question is how the general structure of employment has been evolving.

We shall soon see that there is a very strong long-term trend in the Jewish labour force away from the three key sectors and the occupations mentioned above. This trend exists independently of the economic situation, and is manifest during boom years as well as in times of recession. During the last few years, no doubt because of the economic slow-down, there has even been an absolute decline in the number of Jewish workers in each of these sectors and occupations.

The Arab labour force, on the other hand, has always concentrated in the three main productive sectors - manufacturing and crafts, construction, and agriculture. About 86 per cent of all workers from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and some 70 per cent of the Arabs resident in Israel - or, taken together, 78 per cent of all Arabs employed in the Israeli economy - work in these three main sectors of production. This is roughly double the corresponding figure for Jews in 1976, which was 36 per cent.

Moreover, the Arabs employed in services tend to concentrate in 'productive services' - business services from which a private businessman profits directly. The Jews, on the other hand, tend to concentrate in government services, which are non-profit making and are part of the institutions of power, OJ services supplied by the state in order to ensure a continuous and smooth economic and social activity. This includes clerks, policemen, teachers, etc.

The next table, taken from manpower surveys, sums up the development of the occupational distribution of the two nationalities in Israel between 1969 and 1976. The occupations are divided into two categories: A - material production - including industrial workers, craftsmen, agricultural and construction workers, both skilled and unskilled. B - professional and technical services - including academics, clerks, service workers, salesmen, managers and engineers. The second category also includes important production workers, like engineers, though their number is relatively small. Stated otherwise, we may say that catergory A comprises the 'blue-collar' workers, though this is not entirely accurate, as cleaners, who are 'blue-collar' workers, are included in category B.

Occupational distribution of Jews and Arabs resident in Israel (Selected years between 1969 and 1976; all figures are percentages of the labour force in each nationality15

The next table, included here for the sake of completeness, gives (in absolute figures) the distribution of the Jewish and Arab labour force according to nine occupational categories. (Here the category academic-scientific includes researchers, pharmacists, lawyers, chartered engineers ~ professional-technical includes teachers, accountants, social workers, nurses, technicians, draughtsmen; services include cooks, waiters, home helps, cleaners, hairdressers, policemen, janitors.)16 Occupational distribution of Jews and Arabs employed and resident in Israel17

These tables show that the Jewish labour force indeed tends to concentrate mainly in 'white-collar' and service occupations - in 1976 these category B occupations accounted for 64 per cent of the total, following a steady increase from 54.8 in 1969. On the other hand, the Arab labour force tends to concentrate in the 'blue-collar' productive occupations of category A - in 1976 this category comprised nearly 68 per cent of the total. True, here there was a slow decline, but it did not amount to a steady trend; rather, it seems to have fluctuated with the state of the economy.

A more detailed analysis of the data shows that whereas in the Jewish labour force there has been a steady decline in the relative weight of each one of the productive occupations (for example, skilled workers in industry and construction made up 28,26 and 25 per cent of the total in 1973, 1975 and 1976 respectively), the decline of category A among the Arabs derives from a steady downward trend in one occupation only, namely agriculture, while in other skilled and unskilled occupations, in industry and construction, the trend is consistendly upwards.

There are two reasons for the decline in the agricultural Arab labour force. First, lack of land: most of the arable land best suited for modern methods of cultivation has been expropriated and given over to Jewish kibbutzim and moshavim. Three quarters of the land possessed by Arab villages in 1948 have by now been expropriated, and this procees is still going on. In his book The Arabs in Israel Sabri Jiryis shows that the government exercises systematic discrimination against Arab agricultural production and in favour of Jewish agricultural production. The second reason is more general: in every economy undergoing industrialisation and transition to mass production, the weight of agriculture in the labour force tends to decline, while that of industry tends to go up. However, while in the Jewish labour force the proportion of workers in agriculture has also tended to decline, this has not been accompanied by a corresponding increase in the proportion of industrial workers, but rather in that of employees in clerical-managerial jobs, in finance and the professions.

Where does the Arab labour force released from agriculture flow to? According to our tables the answer is clear: it goes to other productive occupations as well as to business services. This latter category includes, according to the official Uniform job classification, cleaners, janitors, watchmen and the like. And these are the only category B occupations whose relative weight in the Arab labour force is constantly rising.

We can sum up this part of our analysis with the broad statement that among the Arabs the proportion of blue-collar occupations is rising at the expense of agriculture (whose relative weight is declining in the Israeli labour force as a whole), whereas among the Jews this proportion is constantly declining and the proportion of white-collar workers is steadily going up.

But there is yet another interesting development discernible in the last few years (the relevant data for previous years are unavailable): the ratio of skilled to unskilled Arab workers in manufacturing industry and the construction has increased rapidly despite the severe recession in Israeli industry. The following table gives this ratio (computed by dividing the number of skilled workers by that of unskilled workers) for both national groups.

Number of skilled workers per one unskilled worker in industry and construction18

(We have no date on the ratio among workers from the occupied territories, but it seems that a similar trend exists to some extent also in their case.) This phenomenon shows that Israel's manufacturing and construction industries are increasingly depentent on Arab labour not only for unskilled jobs.

Obviously, as Arabs resident in Israel move into skilled occupations, they are replaced in unskilled jobs by workers from the occupied territories, about whom we shall have something to say later on.

The dynamic of growing concentration of Arab workers in skilled jobs in production meets some well-known political and social obstracles. A very considerable part of Israel's industry is directly or indirectly engaged in the production of arms, ammunition and components for weapon systems. But engineering and electronics plants connected in any way to the millitary industry, such as the huge Tadiran complex, are virtually out of bounds to Arab workers. likewise, there are very few Arab workers in the large enterprises of the public (state and Histadrut) sector, such as the Dead Sea Works, the Kur steel corporation, the ports and even the agribusiness firm Tnuvah. Every day the Israeli papers carry advertisements by firms seeking to recruit skilled workers which specify that only 'ex-servicemen' need apply. The term 'ex-serviceman' has become a euphemism for 'Jews' just as 'member of the minorities' is a euphemism for 'Arab'. Large companies in the services sector, for example in insurance, also advertise jobs for secretaries or switch-board operators who 'have completed their national military service'.19

The worst discrimination in the labour market is exercised by the large corporations which mostly belong to the state or the Histadrut and which are virtually closed to Arab workers. They are based on a fairly stable work-force and are not acutely affected by market fluctuations. The military and aviation industry of course also excludes Arab workers. (According to some estimates this industry, with its varioUs ramifications, employs about half of all Jewish industrial workers.) There are also some branches of private business which by tradition exclude Arabs. One example of this is the diamond industry, although a very small number of Arab workers have recently been admitted into it.

Broadly speaking, therefore, the Arab industrial labour force is to be found mainly in small to medium-sized private firms. Such firms pay low wages (about half of the wages paid in the public sector) and are vulnerable to market pressures. They work for the civilian market and produce consumer goods such as food, building materials, wood and rubber goods, and textiles. It is doubtful whether such enterprises could develop and thrive without Arab labour. Sometimes they suffer such an acute manpower shortage that they are forced to farm out work on a contractual basis to small workshops in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, since it is easier to employ women and girls there. This practice is particularly widespread in the fashion industry:

'The fashion industry suffers from a shortage of skilled manpower, particularly cutters and sample makers. . . . The factories have to compete for manpower by offering better wages. . . . The supply of skilled workers is low. . . . A large fashion manufacturer complained to me of the excessive reliance on sewing workshops beyond the green line. He said that if there was a political change the fashion industry might be harmed and would probably be unable to meet its orders. . .20

Small sewing workshops have also been set up recently in some Arab villages inside Israel, for instance in Umm el-Fahm. Their owners pay the women half the current wages paid in Tel-Aviv - but, because of the social conditions and the Arab family structure, many women and young girls prefer to work for half the wage near home than for the full wage in Tel-Aviv. (The daily wage in those sewing workshops was about IL40 at the beginning of 1978. See last chapter below.)

With the growing importance of private industry, however, many of the obstacles fucing the Arab worker trying to get a skilled job are being removed. The decisive factor here - as always with these workers - is the market. The Israeli economy is still suffering a chronic shortage of manpower in all productive sectors. This shortage is particularly evident in private industry where the average wage is about half that in the public sector. The shift of Jewish labour from production to services necessarily causes an increasing flow of Arab manpower, which is the only reserve force at the disposal of private industry.

Detailed occupational distribution

The foregoing analysis described the general picture. Let us now examine the distribution of Arab workers by detailed occupation. (According to the 1972 Unifonn job classification there are ten major occupational groups, each of which is further sub-divided into eight to ten detailed occupations.) The data we have quoted so far were based on surveys of samples of a few thousand families. However, the most reliable data can be obtained from the population census.

The following table is based on the last census, taken in 1972. To explain how it should be read, let us take for example the third row, Primary school teachers. The table shows that, of the total number of employed Israeli Jews, 4.2 per cent were primary school teachers; and the corresponding figure for Arabs resident in Israel was 5.5 per cent. Jewish primary school teachers earned on the average IL 7.1 per hour, whereas their Arab colleagues earned only IL5.8. Thus the hourly earning of a Jewish Primary school teacher was 1.2 times as much as (or, in other words, 20 per cent more than) that of an Arab colleague. To avoid needless clutter, we have omitted figures which represent less than one per cent of anyone national group; and occupations which account for less than one per cent in both national groups have been omitted altogether.

From our table, and from the full table21 (of which ours is a shortened version), the following important conclusions can be drawn.

1) In virtually all occupations, a Jew earns more than an Arab. (This is also the case in the full table.) In fact, the only significant exception is unskilled agricultural work. The typical difference varies around 20 per cent, but since the Arabs are concentrated in lower-paid occupations, the average overall difference (see bottom line of our table) is 40 per cent. We shall discuss this in the final chapter of the present article.

2) The full table comprises about one hundred detailed occupations. But nearly 60 per cent of all Arab employees in Israel (in 1972) concentrated in sixteen typical occupations. Even more striking: about 46 per cent - nearly one half - were concentrated in only seven occupations: self-employed farmers, skilled agricultural workers, tinsmiths and welders, carpenters, builders, drivers, and unskilled workers in manufacturing and construction.

3) Jews, on the other hand, are much more evenly distributed among the various occupations: there are only three occupations where their concentration is 4 per cent or more (bookkeepers, general service workers, and tinsmiths/welders). In the case of Arabs there are eight such high-concentration occupations.

4) The full table shows that there are several industries in which there are virtually no Arabs (less than 0.1 per cent). One example of this is the diamond industry, in which 0.8 per cent of all Jewish employees (about 7,000 in all) are concentrated.

5) Service occupations in which Arabs are concentrated are usually those which are productive in the economic sense - waiters, hotel workers etc. Many of these serve Israel's tourist industry.

6) There is a very high concentration of Arab workers in occupations which tend to be pursued in small businesses. Using this table, we can estimate the total number of workers of either nationality within each occupation, since we know how many people were employed in 1972. This calculation shows that in some occupations Arab workers (including those from the occupied territories) constitute a majority. We shall come back to this at the end of the present chapter.

Workers from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

Employment in Israel accounts for about 32 per cent of the total employment of the inhabitants of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip;22 Among employees (that is, excluding the self-employed) the proportion employed in Israel is obviously higher: even official estimates put it at about 50 per cent. This figure has been increasing steadily since the occupation in 1967, because there is a shortage of jobs in these territories. According to Bank of Israel and Ministry of Labour estimates23 there are 15,000 industrial workers employed there - a number which has been stagnant since 1967.

Although the proportion of workers from the occupied territories in the total labour force of Israel is not particularly high - seven to ten per cent - there are certain industries and occupations, such as construction, carpentry, and general labouring jobs, where they make up 40 or SO per cent of all employees. Moreover, they are the most elastic and 'free' section of the work-force. For example, in 1970-73, during the great boom in construction, 60 per cent of the newly recruited manpower in this sector came from the occupied territories,24 and another 20 per cent from among Arabs residing in Israel. The importance of this elasticity is often stressed in Bank of Israel reports. For example, in its 1976 report the Bank says:

'Despite the recession, manpower surveys show outstanding stability in the number of men employed, and a continued increase in the number of women employed in services. The data indicate that the supply o flab our has adjusted to the various components of demand, a phenomenon which existed also in the boom years. A change in migration patterns, an adaptation of the propensity to work among the marginal age-groups, elasticity of the depth of employment and mobility of the employed persons from the occupied territories who move in and out of the Israeli economy - all these provide an explanation for the unusual phenomenon of slow-down and even stagnation in production without a significant rise in unemployment.'25

The word 'men' in the first sentence of this quotation evidently does not refer to Arab men from the occupied territories. What the Bank is saying is that in times of depression, when workers must be made redundant, the Israeli economy can avoid the political dangers of mass unemployment by dismissing only the elastic part of the work-force: marginal age-groups (the young and the old) and marginal people - workers from the occupied territories. In a system which is totally dominated by Israeli Jews, there are obviously very few openings in the public services for Arabs with higher education. In a Bank of Israel publication, Bergman writes: 'Analysis of the rate of employment in relation to the level of education shows that, contrary to the position among Israel's Jewish population, the rate of employment in the administered [= occupied] territories decreases as the level of education . . . increases. This is probably caused by a shortage of work suitable for educated workers. A similar problem exists also in the case of educated non-Jewish workers. in Israel, among whom the level of unemployment is relatively high.'26

The sectoral distribution of Palestian workers from the occupied territories is also very clear-cut: a high concentration in basic production sectors. In particular, there is a movement into manufacturing industry, where these workers fill vacancies created in unskilled jobs.

The next table refers only to workers who are hired through offtcial channels. It is perhaps reasonable to assume that among the tens of thousands of workers hired through unofficial labour contractors a higher proportion are employed in agriculture and construction, and relatively fewer in industry.

In the services sector the proportion of workers from the occupied territories is increasing steadily. Many local authorities depend on them for street cleaning, refuse collection and the like. (One notorious case is that of the municipal council of Holon; in October 1977 it transpired that the council hired, through a labour contractor, twelve year old boys as sweepers in Holon's industrial zones, commercial centres and streets.) They are also employed as maintenance and sanitation workers in private institutions of all sizes. The Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem employed dozens of cleaners from the West Bank in its laboratories and wards; in this case the foremen and supervisors are still veteran Jewish cleaners.

It is well-known that agricultural production in many moshavim and kibbutzim depends on Arab labour. During the fighting in Lebanon, when hundreds of Lebanese workers were unable to turn up for fruit-picking in the Kibbutzim of the Hula valley, an acute manpower crisis developed in this area. Israeli agriculture, which is increasingly export-oriented - about half of the produce is currently exported - could make the transition to labour-intensive crops, such as vegetables, flowers and strawberries, only thanks to the abundance of cheap labour from occupied territories. During the busy season, scores of workers from the territories arrive each morning at every moshav, and it is they who do the various agricultural labouring jobs. The Jewish moshavniks have for the most part become capitalist farmers who organise the production process, occasionally operate the heavy agricultural machinery, and do the necessary paperwork. A considerable number of these Arab workers are not registered with any official agency, and neither they nor their employers have any reason to declare the fact of their employment in the surveys upon which official statistics are based.

Age distribution of workers in Manufacturing and construction

The consistent trend towards the concentration of Israeli Jews in white-collar occupations and in the services sector comes about in two ways.

First, by Jewish workers actually moving from blue-collar to white-collar occupations, or from jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors to the services. This occurs particularly in times of economic recession, when there is little new investment, factories are closed down and workers are laid off. In some cases production workers, instead of being laid off, are transferred to white-collar jobs (such as marketing or administration) within the same firm. This happened, for example, in the Jerusalem firm of Friedman, which closed down its production lines of heaters and refrigerators and became an importer and distributor of similar goods.

Secondly, young Jewish workers, entering the labour market for the first time, tend to go to white-collar occupations and to the services sector. This is reflected in the age distribution of workers in the various sectors. For example, while in the total Jewish labour force 42 per cent are under thirty-five years old, the proportion of this age-group among Jews employed in the construction industry is only 36 per cent. This indicates that the proportion of young Jews in this sector are veterans who have by now established themselves, have won job security, seniority pay and various other benefits which make it worth their while to stay there. Thus, while it is true that there are tens of thousands of Jews in this sector, many of them belong to the permanent staff and are employed as clerks and administrators in construction firms; and this number also includes about four thousand contractors. But the younger manpower of this industry - that employed on building sites and engaged in actual construction - is for the most part made up of Arabs.

For example, it is known that the permanent staff of the giant Histadrut-owned Sollel-Boneh, which is basically a construction firm, is made up mainly of Jews. This staff is engaged in maintainance and administration, away from the building sites, in jobs which only slightly depend on the seasonal and economic fluctuations of the construction industry. On the other hand, the temporary workers of Sollel-Boneh, often hired on a daily basis, are for the most part Arabs, who work on the actual building sites; and by now these even include foremen. Since Sollel-Boneh is a Histadrut firm, which regards itself as having a 'mission' beyond mere profit-making, it considers this situation as an abnormal one, a crisis. The firm believes that Jews must work in actual building, and if new Jewish hands do not go into construction, this spells a crisis - a big worry for the Council of the Union of Construction Workers, which is of course totally dominated by Jews, although more than half of all construction workers are Arabs. The council's secretary, Mr Amster, has warned that 'many skilled Jewish workers are leaving the industry [due to the recession] and will not come back even if there is a recovery. The young generation does not go into the industry and the [Jewish] reserves are dwindling yearly.'27

Let us therefore examine the age distribution in the various sectors; we shall see that Mr Amster's worry is well-founded. The data are summarised in the following table.

The figures in each column (for either nationality) do not add up to 100 127 Palestinian workers in Israel per cent, because we have omitted the older age-groups (50+), which are irrelevant to the trend of the last twenty years.

Age structure of Israeli labour force in 1975, by nationality and sector28

The first column, which gives the age structure of the total labour force of both nationalities, shows clearly that the Arab labour force is considerably younger than the Jewish, as we have already noted in the beginning of the first chapter (on the Arab working population). But to get an idea of the differential rates at which younger workers are absorbed by the various sectors, the figures for each sector should be compared with those in the first column. Thus we find, for example, that the age structure of the Jewish labour force in industry is roughly the same as that of the whole Jewish labour force; but the Arab industrial labour force is 'young' even in comparison with the total Arab labour force. This indicates a differential trend of young Arabs towards industry.

Social scientists. Matras and Weentroub of the Brookdale Institute in Jerusalem base the following statement on research which they completed in 1976 and which included wide-ranging surveys:

'The most basic and evident gap in Israel between patterns of occupational and educational advancement is that between Jews and non-Jews. . . . For Jewish men, the patterns of occupation changes as between father and son reflect a process of spreading and penetration into a wide range of occupations in a modern economy, starting from a situtationof relatively high concentration in the parents' occupations. This process includes a strong and comprehensive upward mobility - into academic, professional and managerial occupations, as well as lower "white-collar" occupations. There is also a downward mobility into skilled and semi-skilled occupations.
'For non-Jews, the patterns of occupation changes as between father and son reflect an almost exclusive move from agriculture to "blue-collar" occupations, be they skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled, with a very restricted mobility into "white-collar" occupation.29

Overall contribution to Israeli production

Because of the high concentration of Arab workers in the production of goods and services and because of their relatively low wages, their overall contribution to the total value of commodities and to the surplus value is particularly high; in fact, it is not very much less than that of the Jewish workers, although the latter outnumber the Arab workers in the ratio of five to one.

In trying to estimate the Arab workers' share in the production of value, it is convenient to confine one's attention to material production - that is, to agriculture, manufacture and construction. It is true that this excludes transport, catering and other productive services, but that does not greatly affect the general picture, since the Arab workers' share in these productive services is at least as high as in the production of material goods. In any case, only a crude estimate can be made, for several reasons. One reason is the existence of the 'black' economy, which does not appear in reports and surveys, except perhaps the Shimron report on organised crime and a book by the journalist B. Nade1.30 But again, there is no reason to suppose that owners of 'black' businesses are particularly reluctant to employ Arab workers. Quite the contrary, there is no doubt that many 'underground' enterprises rely on the laböur of Arab workers without rights, without a union and, in the case of workers from the occupied territories, without work permits. Hence the true contribution of the Arab workers must be greater than any estimate based on official statistics.

Moreover, for political reasons big firms tend not to dismiss their Jewish workers even during prolonged recessions. In some cases, for example, the whole economy of a development town depends on one firm. Whenever such a firm announces its intention to make a few hundred workers redundant, public and political pressure is soon mobilised to prevent the dismissals; very often a grant or a subsidy is made available to the firm to enable it to keep its Jewish workers. Firms engaged in military producation keep their skilled Jewish workers on the payroll even when business is slack and there is nothing for them to do; for such workers are generally in short supply, and the finn may not be able to replace them when business picks up again. (In firms working wholly or partly for military production Arab skilled workers cannot be used as a substitute!)

On the other hand, an Arab worker will not normally be left on the payroll of a private or public firm unless he or she is actually needed for current production. These workers have no political defence; the Israeli press does not kick up a fuss when, say, Friedman sacks a hundred workers from the West Bank; and they can always be re.hired when required. This applies particularly to unskilled workers - the great majority of the workers from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Comparing the total number of Jewish workers employed in production in manufacturing, construction, agriculture and mining with the total number of Arab workers in the same occupations, we find that while the former is declining both absolutely and relatively, the latter is constantly increasing, and the two are rapidly approaching each other. This tendency has been particularly evident during the last few years of recession.

The following table shows the number of workers of each nationality in the above-mentioned productive occupations in selected years.31

These figures show that in the basic productive occupations there are nearly half as many Arab as Jewish workers; moreover, this proportion is increasing steadily, and will no doubt increase still further, given the younger age structure of the Arab population and the greater differential tendency of young Arab workers towards productive occupations.

This proportion, of nearly one Arab worker to two Jewish workers, pertains to material production in the aggregate. But the detailed figures for each separate occupation show a great deal of variation beacuse, as we have already noted, there is a high concentration of Arab workers in a few very specific occupations. As a matter of fact, there are already some occupations in which Arab workers are the majority.

Fairly accurate figures can be obtained for 1972, using the census results. The following table gives the number of workers of either national group, for three occupations in which there is a particularly high concentration of Arabs.

Workers in selected occupations, by nationality; 1972 census32

The data given in this table are the most reliable ones for 1972, being based on the census of that year rather than on statistical estimates. But since, as we have seen, the proportion of Arabs in the basic productive occupations has been steadily increasing, their present contribution to the production of value and surplus value in Israel is greater, both absolutely and relatively, than is reflected in the last two tables.


One of the most important characteristics of the Arab labour force is its high mobility, which has several components and is connected with whole mode of existence of these workers in Israel.

Most Jewish workers in Israel have security of tenure, and cannot be dismissed without considerable severance pay. They are also nonnally protected against dismissal by the Histadrut and by a whole system of political pressures. Arab workers, in contrast, rarely have job security, and are nonnally employed on a daily basis. They also lack political muscle, and possess little trade-union and political defence against redundancy. Most Arab workers, who can so easily be dismissed, are employed in the private sector which is therefore able to adjust to changing market conditions, to recessions and rapid upturns in trade.

One component of mobility is geographical, and relates to the distance between the workers's home and workplace. As is well known, most workers work far from their villages. Even in Arab towns there are hardly any factories, and in most Arab villages there are no workshops employing more than two or three workers, not to mention factories. Because of the massive expropriations of Arab lands in the 1950s, young Arab villages have little agricultural employment in their own villages. In fact, it is estimated that about 50 per cent of all Arab workers resident in Israel work away from their own village or town;33 and this proportion is likely to increase as more young people join the labour force. If we include also workers from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, it follows that about 75 per cent of all Arab workers employed in Israel work far from home - a remarkably high proportion.

We shall not go here into a detailed analysis of the causes of this phenomenon. Let us just point out that in addition to the lack of employment opportunities in Arab villages and towns there are also great obstacles preventing Arabs from moving house nearer their workplace. Most Jewish villages and many towns, such as Safad, Kanni'el and 'Arad, are hermetically sealed against Arabs, who are simply not allowed to reside there permanently. In places like Tel-Aviv or even Haifa, where Arabs can in principle live, it is in practice difficult for them to find a flat in most quarters, since Jewish residents show great resistance to an Arab moving in. Of course, the Arab worker lÌimself is usually not highly motivated to move house nearer his workplace: since he lacks job security, he may in any case need to look for another job before long.

Whatever the reasons, this geographical mobility enables the Israeli economy to exploit Arab labour exactly where it is needed. If a large construction project is started in Jerusalem or, say, in Qiryat Shmonah, Jewish workers cannot be attracted away from their homes and secure jobs; so the temporary but urgent demand for manpower is satisfied by Arab workers from villages in the Triangle and the Galilee, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Another component of mobility relates to the frequency with which workers change their job or place of employment. (The two components are clearly inter-connected: a worker having a steady job is more highly motivated to move house near his or her workplace; equally, a person working near home is somewhat less likely to seek another job.)

Since 1967 there has been, as far as we know, only one survey dealing with the frequency with which employees (that is, wage or salary earners) change their place of employment. In this survey, conducted in 1971, data were collected on the number of times employees had changed their job during the preceding five-year period (1966-1970). The results are summarised in the following table.

Total Employees resident in Israel, by number of changes of place of employment during the five years 1966-7034

From this table we can deduce two important facts. First, Arab employees change their job much more frequently than their Jewish colleagues. Thus, for example, about 20 per cent of all Arab workers made three or more changes during the five-year period in question, as compared to only 3.5 per cent among all Jewish workers. And in the 20-34 age-group one quarter of the Arab workers made three or more changes, as compared to only 5 per cent of the Jewish workers.

Secondly, it seems that Jewish workers tend to settle down to a steady job as they grow older, whereas Arab workers remain mobile even when they are no longer young, so the difference in mobility between the whole population of Arab workers and its 20-34 age-group is smaller than for Jews.

The mobility of Arab workers and the ease with which they can be dismissed lend a great deal of flexibilty to the Israeli economy. This is particularly true of the private sector, but the public bureaucratic sector of Israeli capital benefits as well. This is well illustrated by the following newspaper story:

'Sollel-Boneh has announced the dismissal of 150 workers in the 'Afulah and Valley district, because of a sharp decline in activities. . . . It was promised that every effort would be made to keep a "skilled nucleus" of workers in the region. Senior sources told me that the responsibility for employment in the region has virtually been handed over to the Housing Ministry, which will have to find employment for the Jewish construction workers in the region of the Valley of Jezreel.35

It is well known that the permanent skilled nucleus of Sollel-Boneh, including administrative workers, engineers and technicians, consists almost exclusively of Jews.

A story published in the same newspaper exactly one month earlier contained another example, referring to the Herut lift factory: 'Due to the recession in construction, there will be a controlled reduction in the number of employees. The first to be dismissed will be workers from the [occupied] territories. As for engineers and technicians, an effort will be made to transfer them to jobs abroad.'36

The difference in mobility between Jewish and Arab workers .is also reflected in the following fact. In the fiscal year 1976-77 there was a sharp decline in construction, as a result of which thousands of workers were made redundant. In fact, about 1,500 Jewish workers and 10,000 Arab workers lost their jobs - a ratio of one to six or seven.37

A worker in a factory owned jointly by several kibbutzim put it all very succinctly: 'The permanent workforce [in bur factory] are [Jewish] hired workers. The seasonal workers are Arabs, and the managers are kibbutz members.'38

Mobility of workers from the occupied territories

Above we have quoted some data on the frequency of workplace changes among Arab workers resident in Israel. As for workers coming from the occupied territories, A. Bergman reports that only about one third of these workers have been working for their present employer for two years or more, and only about one sixth for over four years.39 These figures indicate, on the one hand, a high degree of mobility; but on the other hand they also reveal a growing dependence of many businesses and farms on labour from these territories. The Ministry of Labour reports that out of 600 workers from the Gaza Strip employed in twenty-seven enterprises in the Erez district, about 430 left their job during the first three years oftheir employment.40

Although workers from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip only make up 7 to 10 per cent of the labour force employed in Israel, their contribution to the immediate supply of labour (that is, to filling current vacancies), particularly in certain key sectors, is extremely high. This is reflected even in the statistics of the official labour exchanges, although only a little over one half of the workers from the occupied territories go through them. The following table gives, for the years 1973-75, the monthly average number of workers who obtained employment through the labour exchanges, and the proportion of Arabs from the occupied territories among them.

Manpower supplied through labour exchanges; monthly average 41

These figures show that workers from the occupied territories make an important, and apparently growing, contribution to supplying the immediate demand of the Israeli labour market; and in the construction industry their contribution is decisive. Moreover, it is safe to assume that most workers who are hired without the mediation of the labour exchange are also Arabs, either from the occupied territories or from Israel.

[h2Mobility and unemployment[/h2]
Arab workers, along with 25,000 Jewish workers from the 'development townships' are virtually the only ones to be hired for certain jobs which by their nature are seasonal and require mobility, such as fruit picking, weeding and similar agricultural work, as well as citrus packing and food canning. Such workers hardly ever attain job security or a monthly wage. According to Histadrut regulations, an agricultural worker is entitled to job tenure only after twelve years' continuous employment for the same employer. Of course, employers prefer to lay off workers, even if they have to be re-hired after a short time, precisely in order to prevent them achieving tenure. This trick can be played more easily on Arab workers, and for this reason many employers prefer to have Arab rather than Jewish workers. When the above-mentioned dismissals occurred in the 'Afulah branch of Sollel-Boneh, the redundant Jewish workers appealed to the seventy kibbutzim and moshavim of the district not to use Arab labour for their domestic construction work, and hire Jewish workers instead. But the kibbutzim and moshavim refused to do so, knowing full well the heavy obligations involved in employing a Jewish worker - fringe benefits, the demand for job security, the difficulty of dismissal. When an Arab worker has finished doing the job he was hired for, he can be sacked; but with a Jewish worker it is a different matter.

Thus, precisely because Arab workers can be dismissed more easily; employers often prefer to hire them, rather than Jewish workers, for certain kinds of work. Moreover, the difference in occupational structure between the Arab and Jewish labour force occasionally leads to the result that a firm wanting to trim down its work-force will sack its less essential Jewish service workers rather than Arab workers who do vital production jobs. This happened, for example, in the Kittan-Dimonah textile mill in October 1977, when 200 Jewish men and women workers were dismissed. This was bitterly opposed, since hundreds of families were reduced to the breadline because of temporary difficulties in the factory on which their livelihood depended. But the owners, the Klal firm, were adamant and got their own way. Throughout the period of negotiations, the owners offered to sack Arab production workers instead of the redundant Jewish service workers, provided the latter agree to replace the former at the machines, in conditions of tremendous noise and mental tensions. According to press reports, 'Mr Steingrad, the general manager of Kittan-Dimonah, which employs about 400 workers from the [occupied] territories (one third of the total work-force!) because there are not enough Jewish workers suitable for work at the looms, spinning and finishing machines etc. .said that any Jewish worker prepared to work at these machines will be allowed to do so.' This no one agreed to do - certainly not at the going wage rates, which were in the region of IL70-80 per day for Jews. Arab workers were being paid about IL50 per day.42 [NB: this footnote is missing from the original so we have placed it as best we could, though it may not be accurate – libcom ed.]

But despite such occasional and almost paradoxical situations, where Arab workers are saved from unemployment precisely because of their greater vulnerability and exploitability, it is they who generally bear the brunt of economic recession. This can be seen from the trend in the employment figures during the crisis of 1973-78. Unlike the 1965-66 crisis, when there was significant unemployment among Jewish workers, the present crisis has had no such effect, and was reflected only in a lack of new investment and a decline in Arab employment.

The last table shows that whereas the total number of employed persons continued' to rise steadily, albeit slowly, during the period 1973-76, there was no rise in the employment of Arabs resident in Israel, and in the worst years of the crisis their employment actually decline.

This confirms once again that Arab workers serve as Israel's reserve army of labour. Being politically defenceless, this labour force is employed for purely economic reasons only; that is, just in so far as employers can derive immediate financial profit from it.


The growth in consumption, and in particular in the construction of houses, in Arab villages both within the 'green line' and in the occupied territories, has created an impression as through the Arab worker is well paid, sometimes even better paid than the Israeli-Jewish worker. In fact, the huge increase in the employment of Arabs in the Israeli economy since 1967 has led to a rise in the overall income of Arab workers. But an examination of the daily or monthly wage and the work conditions of the average Arab worker reveals a far less rosy picture.

Wages of workers from the occupied territories

In analysing the level of wages, certain basic facts must be borne in mind. Virtually all workers from the occupied territories are employed temporarily, on a daily basis. Therefore they have no secure monthly wage, and their income depends on the number of days actually worked. For workers from the occupied territories it is estimated that the average number of working days - allowing for Saturdays and religious holidays, rainy days, days of sickness and so forth - is 21 per month.43

From the gross pay one to subtract income tax as well as other deductions such as national insurance and pension contributions, which the worker never gets back in any form, since the present administrative machine is hardly able and still less willing to keep track of the sums that accrue to the credit of a worker hired by the day, who changes his or her place of work about twice a year. In addition, we have to deduct travel expenses, which are very high - about IL20 per working day in 1977 - for workers who generally work very far from home. As to the size of these deductions, we quote the following report from G. Kessler's Ph. D. thesis, Dynamics of a minority community.

'In one case I examined in 1971, a labour contractor from Juarish. . . received from an employer IL23.40 per day for a worker employed in pruning orange groves. The contractor in turn transmitted IL21.60 to the labour exchange which, after making deductions, paid the wage through the Gaza branch of Bank Le'umi, where the worker collected his wage to the tune of IL 11.35.'44

Thus the ra'is and the labour exchange between them deducted about one half of the worker's wage. This rate of deduction, 50 per cent, is very common. The worker of course gets nothing in return for the huge tax he is made to pay.

The following table, published by the Ministry of Labour, lists wages and salaries paid by some Israeli employers in and around the Gaza Strip to Arab employees from the Strip.

Gross pay of employees from the Gaza Strip, 197545

According to data published by the Central Statistics Office (see refs. 8 and 43), the average gross monthly wage of workers from the occupied territories employed in Israel was IL924 in 1975 and ILl 134 in 1976 - an increase of under 25 per cent; in the same year prices, as well as the average wage of Jewish workers, rose by more than 40 per cent. (Indeed, during the period 1970-75 the real average wage of Gaza workers fell by 17 per cent.46 ) By way of comparison: the average gross monthly pay of all employees in Israel was IL2920 in 1976.47 After deducting taxes and so on, as well as travel expenses, the worker from the occupied territories is left with a truly minimal wage, for which no Jewish worker would be prepared to work. Indeed, as pointed out in the Bank of Israel report quoted above (see ref. 14), the various welfare benefits and other allowances received by 'ex-servicemen' (that is, by Jews) add up to more than the net wage of an Arab worker from the occupied territories.

Workers employed inside the occupied territories are on the whole þetter off: their average gross monthly wage was IL 1050 in 1976. This is slightly less than the corresponding figure for those who travel to work in Israel (IL 1134); but then they do not pay nearly as much in tax and travel expenses. On the other hand, workers from the occupied territories employed in Israeli industry are much worse off: their gross monthly wage was IL840.

All the figures quoted so far are official averages, relating to workers employed through the labour exchanges. Of course, there are many thousands of workers who are employed unofficially, and some of these earn more than the figures quoted above. But it must be borne in mind that they do not enjoy even the few fringe benefits given to those who go through the labour exchanges, such as compensations for industrial accidents. Also they are mostly hired for agricultural and other seasonal work, which implies a higher risk of unemployment during part of the year. In this free labour marker, a daily wage of IL 100 is considered (in 1978) to be on the high side. These wages are often paid in 'black money' so that no taxes are deducted. To determine the net wage, we therefore only have to subtract travel expenses, say IL20. This leaves a net daily wage of about ILSO (or about £2.70 at the 1978 rate of exchange), which works out at IL1680 for an average month of 21 working days.

How does this compare with the wage of an Israeli worker? In most branches of the Israeli economy, fringe benefits add up to something like 40 per cent of the basic wage. These fringe benefits, which are part and parcel of the effective wage in every modern economy, and particularly in Israel, include payment for holidays and sick leave, production bonuses, presents, a 'thirteenth month' and even 'fourteenth month' salary. The vast majority of Arab workers do not enjoy such extras; from a Ministry of Labour report48 which contains data on holidays, sick-benefits and compensations, it is evident that an Arab worker from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip receives virtually nothing beyond his or her bare wage. Thus, the average wage of an Israeli worker (which was IL3500 per month in 1977) adds up, together with fringe benefits, to earnings which are twice or three times those of an Arab worker from the occupied territories.

Arab workers resident in Israel

The wages of Arab workers resident inside the 'green line', while normally higher than those of workers from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, are much smaller than those of Jewish workers. At the bottom end of the scale are women working locally in small village sewing workshops or in agriculture, whose wages are very low indeed - as low as the average wage of workers from the occupied territories. On the other hand, skilled workers in construction and other industries earn as much as they are able to get on the free market; here too a daily wage of ILl 00 to 120 (that is IL2100 to 2520 per month) is considered (in 1978) to be on the high side. Most of these workers also are hired by the day, and therefore do not enjoy the benefits and extras which are given to regular monthly workers. And they too must spend considerable sums in travel expenses.

There is a fairly detailed and reliable statistical information on the wages of Arab workers resident in Israel. The most reliable data on Israeli society in general are those derived from the last census, conducted in 1972. So far, only a small part of the census results have been published, but fortunately these include data on the earnings of both national groups in Israel.

First, let us look at the distribution of employees (wages and salary earners) by income.

The difference is quite striking. The under IL8OO income bracket contained less than one half of all Jewish employees, but nearly three-quarters of all Arab employees.

Distribution of employees (Jews and Arabs resident in Israel) by income, 197249

This huge difference in wages cannot be explained merely by the high concentration of Arabs in unskilled jobs. In the second chapter, dealing with the occupational distribution of the Arab labour force, we presented a long table showing the distribution of Jewish and Arab employed persons by detailed occupation, based on the 1972 census. Turning back to the table, we find that in every detailed occupation (with one single exception) in which a significant proportion (at least one per cent) of the total labour force of both nationalities is represented, the Arab worker is paid less than the Jewish worker. Thus, an elementary school teacher earned IL5.80 an hour if he or she happened to be Arab, but IL 7.10 if he or she was fortunate enough to belong to the Jewish people. And if this is the case for government employees, so much more so in the private sector: an Arab tinsmith - IL3.20, a Jewish tinsmith – IL4.1O; an Arab builder - IL3.50, a Jewish builder - IL4.70; and, of course, an Arab unskilled worker - IL3.00 and his Jewish mate - IL3.40. From the same table we see that the average hourly earning of an employed Jew was (in 1972) about IL4.60, while an Arab only earned IL3.30.

Therefore, the average earnings of a Jew were 40 per cent higher than that of an Arab, while the mean difference within the same occupation is about 20 or 25 per cent.

As for the total per capita income, including child allowances, which are paid to Jewish families at double the rate given to Arabs (the excuse being that they are 'ex-servicemen's relatives' - in reality merely a euphemism for Jews), we find[49 that in 1972 the average per capita income of a Jewish employee's family was 130 per cent higher (more than double!) that of an Arab employee's family. A similar result is obtained if other components of effective earnings are also taken into consideration.

For more recent years it is difficult to find equally reliable figures. Some less reliable surveys indicate a significant erosion in the Jewish-Arab wage differential in the last few years. This may have been caused by two facts. First, the general decline in real wages during the crisis years may have hit Jews relatively more than Arabs. Another, possibly less important reason is the tendency of Arab workers to move into more skilled occupations. The erosion of the wage differential is reflected in the next table.

According to these figures, the Jewish-Arab wage differential, which in the early 1970s fluctuated around 40 per cent, has been reduced to 18 per cent. However, it must be pointed out that these data, even if correct, refer to the gross wage, without fringe benefits.

The differential in net income (that is, after deducting taxes and so on and adding fringe benefits and welfare allowances) is greater, for two reasons. First, as we have already noted, most Arab workers are hired by the day and are employed by small firms, and therefore do not receive many fringe benefits. Neither do they receive the special welfare allowance granted to Jews under the euphemism 'ex-servicemen's family allowance'. Secondly, Jewish employees in many places - the South, the North, development townships - pay tax at a reduced rate.

The wage differential between Jewish and Arab workers is apparently due to two facts. First, in each occupation Jews are paid something like 20 or 25 per cent more, simply because they are Jews. Secondly, Arab workers are concentrated in the less well paid occupations: as production workers and unskilled labourers, 'hewers of wood and drawers of water'. But this second part of the explanation really begs the question, because there is no economic law according to which production workers must be particularly badly paid. For example, in the United States production workers in many factories, as well as construction workers, are on the whole better paid than clerks. It seems that in fact one of the reasons why wages in 'Arab' occupations are so low is precisely the fact that they have a high concentration of Arabs. In occupations from which Arab workers from Israel and the occupied territories are not excluded for social or political reasons, a larger supply of labour is created, an influx of unorganised and politically defenceless workers who do not constitute a significant pressure group in Israeli society. This, together with competition between workers over jobs, enables the employers to keep wages at a low level. Thus wages in these occupations decline both absolutely (in real terms) and relative to wages in other occupations; this is also confirmed by the 1976 Bank of Israel report from which we have already quoted (see ref. 14). As the level of wages declines, more Jewish workers leave these occupations, because they would be better off on welfare allowances which are given to Jews. In this way an increasing concentration of Arab workers is created. We have seen above that about 50 per cent of all Arab workers resident in Israel are concentrated in seven occupations, five of which (agricultural workers, tinsmiths, carpenters, unskilled workers in construction and manufacturing) are particularly badly paid.

We have also remarked that Arab workers tend to be employed not only in specific occupations but also by a specific kind of employer. There are very few Arab workers in firms employing more than one hundred workers. Such firms, which make up only 2 per cent of all Israeli enterprises but which employ about 50 per cent of the total industrial labour force, are owned by the state (the Chemical Industries, Dead Sea Works, Aviation Industry. . .) or by the Histadrut (such as Kur), or else they are private firms intimately connected to the arms industry, such as Tadiran and other electronics firms.

Arab workers are concentrated in smaller firms which produce mainly for the local Israeli market in branches such as food processing, leather, wood, rubber, textiles, or in private sewing or metal workshops. Most of them - indeed, most workers in this kind of firm, including Jews - are employed on a daily basis. Both wages and fringe benefits are considerably lower than in the bigger firms. The following table shows how big is the difference in wages between small and big firms.

Distribution of wages (1976), by size of firm50

Here we see another reason for the low wages of Arab workers: they tend to concentrate in firms employing less than twenty workers, where the average wage is 40 per cent lower than in the big firms. Similarly, privately owned firms pay less well than public (state or Histadrut) enterprises: IL2500 per month as against IL4500.

The large wage differential is also reflected in differences in the standard of living between the Arab and Jewish populations in Israel. For example, although Arabs make up 17 per cent of Israel's population, they own only 5 per cent of all private cars; this is no doubt partly due to other reasons, such as the size of Arab family, but is certainly also connected with their lower level of income. Apart from the wage differential, there are other economic benefits enjoyed exclusively by Jews, and thus contributing to the gap between Jewish and Arab standards of living. We have already mentioned the special allowances paid by the government to relatives of 'ex-servicemen', and the reduced rates of taxation enjoyed by Jews living in border areas and development regions. No Arab village has ever been designated a development or border area for tax purposes. All Jews, especially young couples, are entitled to various housing grants and interest-free loans. Arabs, on the other hand, hardly ever receive any housing subsidies, except when the authorities wish to remove them from existing Arab quarters. Jewish local authorities receive from the central government annual grants which average IL120 per inhabitant, whereas Arab local authorities receive only IL7 per inhabitant.

In conclusion it can be said that the wages paid to Arab workers, particularly those from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, are on the average much lower than those paid to Jewish workers, especially in the food-processing, testile and packing industries as well as in agriculture and mining. However, in times of economic boom the Israeli economy is very hungry for labour, and this sometimes creates conjunctures in which a skilled Arab worker can get a better return for his labour power. All Arab workers depend far more than their Jewish colleagues on the state of the labour market. Thus, for example, an Arab skilled builder could without geat difficulty find a relatively well-paid job in 1972-74; but in 1977 this became much more difficult.

  • 1Bitfutzot Hagolah (in the Diaspora), 1975-6, p38.
  • 2Ya'ir Kottler, Ha'aretz 9 September 1977.
  • 3H. Harari, Israeli Arabs, 1976, in figures, Giv'at Havivah - Arab Studies no 10.
  • 4Israel Statistical Annual, 1977.
  • 5ibid.
  • 6Ministry of Labour, Report on Youth Labour, 1975.
  • 7Ha'aretz, 4 April 1961.
  • 8Statistical Quarterly for the Occupied Territories vol. 7, no 1977.
  • 9Hanokh Smith, Manpower in Israel-Annual Report, 1976.
  • 10Ya'ir Kottler, op cit.
  • 11Ministry of Labour, Administered Areas Unit, Report on Activities, August 1976.
  • 12ibid, p13.
  • 13Ministry of Labour, Report on activities, Gaza Strip HQ, 1975-6.
  • 14Bank of Israel, Annual Report for 1976, p219.
  • 15H. Harari, op cit, p21.
  • 16Central Bureau of Statistics, Uniform Job Classification, 1972.
  • 17Israel Statistical Annuals, table XII-I.
  • 18Israel Statistical Annuals, 1975-1977, IX,XII-I.
  • 19Yedi'ot Aharonot, 17 February 1978.
  • 20Yedi'ot Aharonot, 29 August 1977.
  • 21Statistical Monthly, 1976, Appendix 7, p92; also Appendix 8.
  • 22 Statistical Quarterly for the Occupied Territories, vol. 7, no 2, 1977; Israel Statistical Annual, table XXVII, 23; A. Berman, Economic Development in the Occupied Territories 1968-73, Bank ofIsrael Research Department, 1975.
  • 23Ministry of Labour, Administered Areas unit, Report on activities, August 1976; also Bergman, op cit.
  • 24B.V. Arkadie, Benefits and Burdens, Carnegie Endowment, 1977.
  • 25Bank of Israel Report, Abstracts, 1976, p29.
  • 26Bergman, op cit.
  • 27Yedi'ot Aharonot, 15 September 1977.
  • 28Israel Statistical Annual, 1975, p332.
  • 29J. Matras and D. Weentroub, Ethnic Differences in Intergenerational mobility, Brookdale Institute, Jerusalem, 1977.
  • 30Barukh Nadel, The Nadel Report, Tel Aviv.
  • 31This table is derived from tables given above and from The Occupied Territories Quarterly, vol. 7 no 2, 1977; Israel Statistical Annual, 1976, table XXVII, 22; and Israel Statistical Annual, 1975, table XIV, 1.
  • 32See ref. 21.
  • 33H. Harari, op cit, p22.
  • 34Statistical Monthly, Appendix no 2, 1971, p22.
  • 35Yedi'ot Aharonot, 14 December 1977.
  • 36Yedi'ot Aharonot, 14 November 1977.
  • 37Yedi'ot Aharonot, 15 September 1977.
  • 38Quoted in Hashavu'a Bakibbutz Ha'artzi, no 1219, August 1977.
  • 39Bergman, op cit.
  • 40Ministry of Labour, Report on activities, Gaza Strip, op cit.
  • 41Statistical Monthly, no 7, 1976, p59.
  • 42Gideon Kessler, Dynamics of a minority Community, Ph. D. thesis, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1972.
  • 43Statistical Quarterly for the Occupied Territories, vol. 7, no 2, 1977.
  • 44Gideon Kessler, op cit, pl07.
  • 45Ministry of Labour, Report on activities, Gaza Strip HQ, 1975-6.
  • 46Ministry of Labour, Administered Areas Unit, op cit.
  • 47Israel Statistical Annual, 1977, p33 7 .
  • 48Ministry of Labour, Administered Area Unit, op cit.
  • 49See ref. 21.
  • 50Statistical Monthly, 1977, Appendix 5.