Po?alei Zion (Workers of Zion)

views updated

POʿALEI ZION (Workers of Zion)

Labor Zionist political party founded in 1905 by Eastern European Jewish youth who went to Palestine. It tried to organize craftsmen into unions and initiated strikes to protest the conditions of employment in the Jewish farming colonies. Also, following the precedent set by Labor Zionist guard units formed in Eastern Europe to protect Jewish communities there during pogroms, this party established such units and their members were hired as guards on Jewish farms. Later, Poʿalei Zion combined with Ahdut ha-Avoda after a split in MAPAI, and in 1948 the joint party united with MAPAM to run for the First and Second Knessets; Poʿalei Zion's leader Moshe Erem and other members became Members of Knesset for MAPAM.

The name Po'alei Zion was also used by parties in the United States and other nations; Golda Meir, David Ben-Gurion, and Yitzhak Rabin all belonged to such groups in their teens.