Charity or social right? The controversy over the hospitalization of members of the Jewish Labor Federation in Palestine, 1926-1928. Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper analyzes the significance of the confrontation between the Jewish Labor Federation and the Hadassah Medical Organization in 1926-1928 over the requirement that unemployed workers produce a" Poverty Certificate" as a condition for an exemption from hospitalization charges. This confrontation lasted 2 years and ended with the revocation of the Poverty Certificate and with the resignation of the director-general of Hadassah. The showdown between Hadassah and the Labor Federation resulted in the endorsement of a doctrine that health services should be provided irrespective of income. Medical care of the poor was considered to be a social right, rather than charity. An additional consequence of this event was the decision of the Labor Federation to institute its own hospitals, rather than to rely solely on Hadassah for the provision of inpatient services.

publication date

  • January 1, 1996