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G Schwake

Peer-reviewed Article



Gabriel Schwake


The UN Resolution 181 of 27 November 1947, which called for the establishment of a Jewish state in parts of Palestine, was one of the only votes backed by both the USSR and the USA. Both superpowers saw the future state as a potential ally. Though being long affiliated with the American

agenda, the young state of Israel did possess several Soviet-like characteristics during the early rule of the socialist Mapai party. One of the young state’s key projects was the construction of new industrial towns and residential neighbourhoods. These environments corresponded with ruling socialist ideology as they consisted of affordable, repetitive, and customised public housing estates. The growing alliance with the USA in the 1960s significantly influenced the Israeli culture and economy, as both underwent a process of ‘Americanisation’. This included the promotion of liberal values, such as privatisation, entrepreneurialism, and individualism. ‘Americanisation’ largely affected the local built environment. Through an intense process of privatisation, the former monotonous publicly built housing estates began giving way to new privately constructed projects. Ultimately, what began as a tool of self-expression was taken over by large-scale private corporations. The early public housing estates first turned into private houses, and later into a commodity. This article aims to reveal how the Israeli allegiance with the USA affected its local culture and economy. Leading to a transformation in the system of housing production, it replaced the former socialist housing approach with a market-driven one. The article focuses on five adjacent settlements located beside the Green Line and the West Bank: Kibbutz-Eyal (1950), Tzur-Nathan (1966), Sal’it (1977), Kochav-Yair (1986), and Tzur-Yitzhak (2005). Analysing their development, the article shows how the growing privatisation process altered the development of the built environment while adapting to changes in local politics, culture, and economy.

G Schwake
G Schwake
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