The article examines the socio-economic interaction between the kibbutzim of the Upper Galilee and Kiryat Shmona during the first decade of the town’s existence. The main consideration behind the support of most Upper Galilee kibbutzim for the establishment of Kiryat Shmona was the urgent need for laborers to help dominate the new extensive areas belonging to Arab villages in the Hula Valley. The completion of the draining of the Hula swamp a decade later likewise left tens of thousands of dunams available for cultivation and an urgent need for workers.
The massive growth of the town, including eight thousand new immigrants from North Africa in the late 1950s, despite the socio-economic vacuum and the absence of economic infrastructure, suited the needs of the Regional Council. The dearth of opportunities in Kiryat Shmona caused heavy reliance on unstable seasonal agricultural work in the surrounding kibbutzim and public works that advanced mainly kibbutz infrastructures. Not only after the fact but even during the establishment of Kiryat Shmona and its development from a ma’abara into a town, there were clear warnings as to the social consequences of the growing gaps. The frustration and helplessness they engendered erupted in riots in May 1956.