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While Israel’s economy today is widely associated with the image of a fast-paced “start up nation,” the founding fathers of the modern state envisioned it as a Socialist utopia.

In its early years, Israel’s economy was controlled by the “Histadrut,” a socialist labor union. This union held control of the economy through decades of mass immigration, war and economic collapse.

Finally, in the 1990’s, the Israeli government moved to nationalize health insurance and, almost overnight, control by the Histadrut was eradicated.

This gave way to Israel’s current market economy. Through the ups and downs of a journey from a socialist to a capitalist economy, Israel’s ability to innovate has paved the way to it having one of the top GDPs per capita in the world.

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About Unpacked: We provide nuanced insights by unpacking all things Jewish. People are complex and complicated — yet we’re constantly being pushed to oversimplify our world. At Unpacked we know that being complex makes us more interesting. Because of this, we break the world down with nuance and insight to drive your curiosity and challenge your thinking.

About History of Israel Explained: This series casts a new perspective on the history of the modern State of Israel, both pre and post 1948. We explore the inspiring highs and heartbreaking lows, and the everyday struggles of ordinary people. Understand how the Jewish State came to be by meeting prominent Zionist figures and learning about key historical events. Explore aspects of Israeli society, from its famous military to the meaning of the national anthem, and more.

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