How it really was: Getting rid of myths – Was Israel ever socialist?

Two respected columnists have recently described Israel in its early years as “socialist.” They are totally wrong.

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February 21, 2018 16:18
Then prime minister Levi Eshkol visits David Ben-Gurion at his home in Sde Boker to congratulate him

Then prime minister Levi Eshkol visits David Ben-Gurion at his home in Sde Boker to congratulate him on his 77th birthday in 1963. (photo credit: FRITZ COHEN/GPO)

“ARE YOU out of your mind?”

In this imaginary conversation taking place in 1950, I can hear the voice of the dynamic Levi Eshkol, then 55 years old, booming out in his deep baritone. The dialogue would have taken place at a meeting of the “Young Guard” of the Israel Labor Party, Mapai. An idealistic young man, just returned from the War of Independence, in this fictional conversation asked, “What about Labor’s socialist ambitions? What now, that we are independent?”

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