Histadrut, intifada, Israeli Arabs, Gaza Strip, umbrella group
In 2000 Israel’s active civilian labor force was 2.7 million, including about 250,000 Israeli Arabs. Women account for 41.2 percent of the workforce. In descending order, public services, manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade, and financial and business services employed the largest number of workers. Unemployment was 8.3 percent. About 100,000 foreign workers—mainly from Romania, Thailand, and the Philippines—worked in such fields as agriculture and construction, largely replacing Palestinian workers. (After a series of demonstrations, strikes, and riots known as the intifada began in 1987, many Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were prevented from going to their jobs in Israel.) In addition to the civilian labor force, about 180,000 Israelis served in the military.
Founded in 1920, the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor) represents most of Israel’s labor force. Serving as an umbrella group for separate trade unions, the Histadrut offers health insurance as well as recreational, educational, and other services to its members.
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