The First Act in the Struggle of the Ma’barot, 1951-1952: Contestation amid Subjection

Gadi Algazi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Protests by residents of Israel’s transitional camps (ma’barot) in the early 1950s have often been portrayed as disorderly riots and outbursts of anger. Focusing on an early stage in the history of migrants’ protests, this chapter seeks to recover the social logic and political models underlying their actions to understand how dependent new immigrants, subject to manifold forms of control, managed to put up significant collective protests and turn, for a while, into political subjects. Starting with a close study of events in one camp, the Kfar Saba ma’bara, it traces the path of camp dwellers’ organized protest, led by recently arrived Iraqi Jewish communists, from local confrontations to the national arena. By late 1951, two distinct channels of collective action emerged: alongside some camp dwellers’ participation in national protests by left-wing parties, activists organized autonomously in their ma’barot and engaged in an ambitious project of creating a representative body of camp dwellers. This challenge politicized struggles in the ma’barot and made their democratic representation a burning issue. While provoking violent repression on the part of the ruling party, it also made clear that patronage would not suffice to secure its hold over the immigrants.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEntangled Histories in Palestine/Israel
Subtitle of host publicationHistorical and Anthropological Perspectives
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages37
ISBN (Electronic)9781040000212
ISBN (Print)9781032215860
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024


Dive into the research topics of 'The First Act in the Struggle of the Ma’barot, 1951-1952: Contestation amid Subjection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this