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California Dreaming

Ideology, Society, and Technology in the Citrus Industry of Palestine, 1890-1939

Nahum Karlinsky

Publication Year: 2005

Multidisciplinary study of the citrus industry in Palestine before World War II. The citrus industry of Palestine has often been associated with the myths and ideals of the Labor Movement and its Zionist-Socialist ideology. The Jaffa orange, like the young pioneer and the collective kibbutz, was emblematic of a colonizing meta-narrative that marginalized or even denounced the private entrepreneurs—both Arabs and Jews—who were the true founders and proponents of the flourishing citrus industry in Palestine. California Dreaming reveals that these private entrepreneurs regarded the California citrus industry as their primary model of emulation. Utilizing an innovative multidisciplinary approach, Nahum Karlinsky vividly reconstructs the social fabric, economic structure, and ideological tenets of the Jewish citrus industry of Palestine in the early twentieth century. Also accentuated is the role of Palestinian-Arab citrus growers, whose industry predated that of their Jewish counterparts, and the complex relationship between the two national sectors that operated side by side.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Israeli Studies


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

Maps and Figures

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pp. ix-x


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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xiv

Many institutions and individuals at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, my academic home, have facilitated the publication of this book. I would like to thank the Ben-Gurion Research Institute in Sede Boker and its former director, Dr. Tuvia Friling; the Department of Jewish History; the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences; the rector’s office and rectors Professor...

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ONE: The Tantalizing Aroma of Citrus Blossoms

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pp. 1-18

FOR MOST PEOPLE in the Yishuv—the pre-state Jewish community in Eretz Israel (Palestine)—in the late Ottoman and the British Mandate periods, citriculture evoked a tapestry of images that would later evolve into sacred symbols of the Israeli experience: the tantalizing aroma of citrus blossoms blanketing the whole country, heralding the end of the cold win-...

PART I: Ideological Platform

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TWO: Degania or Petah Tikva? Private Enterprise in the Worldview of Jewish Citrus Growers in Palestine and Their Opponents

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pp. 21-46

THE COMMUNITY OF PRIVATE citrus growers in Palestine was quite diverse and its social makeup changed perceptibly during the lengthy period investigated. The number of players in the industry climbed from a handful in Petah Tikva in the late nineteenth century to several thousand by the beginning of World War II. This aspect of the growers’ social profile is the focal point of...

PART II. Social and Geographical Platform

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THREE: Spatial Distribution and Social and Entrepreneurial Profile

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pp. 49-84

THIS CHAPTER DESCRIBES the spatial distribution of Jewish citriculture from its modest beginnings in late-nineteenth-century Petah Tikva to its expansion across large portions of Palestine in the 1920s and the 1930s. It also attempts, on the basis of the available sources (which are limited, for the most part) to sketch a social and, mainly, entrepreneurial portrait of the Jew-...

PART III. Technological Innovations

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FOUR: From Jaffa to Petah Tikva: Technological Development in Citriculture during the Ottoman Period

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pp. 87-110

TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION is a proven and important factor in economic growth at large and, in particular—for better and worse—in the economic growth and dominance of the West in modern society.1 Furthermore,both the experience of economic development in Western countries and the attempts to induce similar economic growth in third world countries, insofar...

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FIVE: Technological Innovations during the Mandate Era

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pp. 111-154

BEFORE GREAT BRITAIN received its mandate for Palestine, the Jewish growers there had been introducing technological innovations—relative to the point of departure, local Arab citriculture—on the basis of general agronomic and technical know-how that came mainly, and most importantly,from the agricultural experts of Baron de Rothschild’s administration and the...

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SIX: Technological Innovations in Arab Citriculture

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pp. 155-164

THE DEFINITIVE STUDY about the history of Arab citriculture in the Ottoman and the Mandate eras has yet to be written. It is true that every study about the workings of the Palestinian-Arab economy at that time mentions the importance of citriculture for Arab economic growth in Palestine and notes the patterns of modernization that citriculture brought to traditional...

PART IV: Growing Pains

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SEVEN: Pursuit of Profit

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pp. 167-180

THE UNDERLYING ISSUE in the expansion—and the contraction—of Palestine citriculture was its current and expected profitability. There are no confirmed and detailed data on the topic. One may, however, get a general picture from contemporary testimonies in the journals of the time, reports of experts who visited Palestine, internal documents that were not meant for...

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EIGHT: The British Mandate Government’s Policy toward the Citrus Industry

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pp. 181-186

REDUCING COMPETITION AMONG growers and controlling the quantity of fruit exported were considered tried-and-true ways of stanching the steep decrease in profitability during the 1930s. Indeed, most players in the industry—including the leading executives of the banks, which provided most growers with the credit they needed—evidently found acceptable these two...

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NINE: Attempts to Establish a Cartel

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pp. 187-216

PROPOSALS TO ESTABLISH a growers’ cartel preceded the onset of the great citriculture crisis in the mid-1930s. By the early twentieth century, various parties involved in citriculture (Jewish and German), especially bankers,touted the great advantages that the establishment from such a cartel would deliver. It was not just the special situation of citriculture in Palestine that...

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TEN: Conclusion: Jewish Citriculture as a Private-Enterprise Industry

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pp. 217-220

THIS STUDY HAS PRODUCED a portrayal of citriculture, an important private-enterprise industry in the Yishuv (the nascent Jewish community of pre-independence Israel), from several angles: the ideological views and social profile of its players, its spatial spread, and the way it conducted its affairs.From the ideological standpoint, we found that the private growers had...


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pp. 221-246


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pp. 247-266


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pp. 267-270

E-ISBN-13: 9780791482919
E-ISBN-10: 079148291X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791465271
Print-ISBN-10: 0791465276

Page Count: 270
Illustrations: 17 b/w photographs, 3 maps, 14 tables
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: SUNY series in Israeli Studies
Series Editor Byline: Russell Stone See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 63161559
MUSE Marc Record: Download for California Dreaming

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Subject Headings

  • Citrus fruit industry -- Palestine -- History.
  • Fruit trade -- Palestine -- History.
  • Entrepreneurship -- Palestine -- History.
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