A few years ago a Supreme Court Justice remarked that in Israel the strike was a sacred tradition. Indeed it was. But now, it is more often regarded as a nuisance. This change of attitude has been reflected in the law.
In this country, as in some other countries, the law concerning labour disputes has swung back and forth during the years like a pendulum: from severe restrictions under the Ottoman Empire, through de facto recognition during the British mandatory period, to a privileged status after the establishment of the State of Israel. True, even after the establishment of the State, the right to strike has not been expressly guaranteed by any statute. But in this respect, it is not different from other basic rights, such as the freedoms of expression or assembly, which are in the nature of common law rights. In fact, it fares better, since other rights are subject under various statutes to substantial restrictions. Only the right to strike was left virtually free from such legal restraints. One might be led to believe that to the socialist leaders of the country, most of whom rose to the Government from the ranks of the trade union movement, the right to strike was dearer than other civil liberties. During the first twenty years of the State, on the few occasions on which the legislature touched upon the right to strike, it only acted to protect it. Most conspicuous is the provision that a strike shall not be regarded as breach of a personal obligation on the part of the individual employee.