In the struggle of Jewish labor in the port of Haifa during the British Mandate, the Thessalonikian dockers played a major role. Until recently the story of their absorption was analyzed ‘from above’ with a functionalist-nationalist explanation. The Thessalonikians arrived equipped with professional skills, enthusiasm, and Zionist solidarity, which ostensibly was to be sufficient for their successful occupational integration at the waterfront. This article looks again on (1) the push–pull factors of migration, and (2) the professional and economic absorption in the waterfront of Haifa, but according to social history approach and ‘from below’, from which emerges a much more complex story. We note failures and successes to gain a foothold in the maritime labor market, the persistence involved, and the partial withdrawal from the struggle. The deepening chasm between national idealism and social reality brought an ongoing polemic between the Thessalonikian dockers and the Zionist elites of the interwar Yishuv, with both sides failing to bridge the gaps.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016, © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- Arab dockers
- Haifa Labor Council
- Mandate Palestine
- Thessalonikian dockers
- port of Haifa
- push–pull factors of migration
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management