What would a Red Israel look like?

The idea of a Red Israel has come up a few times (such as in A World of Laughter, a World of Tears), as a result of the US shifting to a pro-Arab position and the Soviets backing Israel. However, I've never seen it explored in much detail. So assuming that the Soviet Union did become Israel's primary backer, and Israel shifted toward socialism as a result, what would that look like?

First of all, unlike the Eastern Bloc, the Soviets would be in no position to impose their brand of socialism on Israel. Soviet troops in Israel would probably be limited to a naval base at Haifa (similar to Latakia in Syria IOTL). It's entirely possible that Israel would remain on its OTL political path, but when you already have moderate socialists running the show, and the single largest employer is the national trade union, I think there's plenty of opportunity for Israel to become more overtly socialist. The Soviets could accelerate this by loosening restrictions on Jewish emigration, possibly in the form of allowing Soviet Jews who are deemed "ideologically reliable" to make aliyah.

The most likely way that the shift would happen is Ben-Gurion and Mapai moving to the left, possibly absorbing (or just partnering with) Mapam, and also bringing Maki into a coalition. If they gained a supermajority in the Knesset, then they could amend the Basic Laws to entrench socialism. The Histadrut would take over most private businesses, giving them de facto control over the Israeli economy.

A few questions for discussion:
1. Does this have a negative impact on Jews in the West? Might McCarthy engage in outright anti-semitism?
2. If Ben-Gurion is running the show, Israel almost certainly still goes nuclear. Would the Soviets be willing to provide assistance, or would Israel have to do a covert program like IOTL?
3. If DPR Yemen still forms, might Israel offer assistance?
4. How much does socialism change Israel? Would the religious community gain their OTL influence? Does Israel change its flag or name at any point?
5. If the USSR still collapses, how does that impact Israel?
 
An attempt to answer your questions:

Some Jews in the West will try very hard not to be associated with a Soviet-aligned Israel. This would presumably create a significant split in the Jewish community, particularly in the US. The Holocaust is recent enough that overt anti-Semitism will probably remain taboo in mainstream politics, but the John Birch Society and similar groups will lean into the nation of Israel's political alignment as justification for their pre-existing biases.

I don't know of any case where the Soviets assisted their allies in developing nuclear weapons (not counting China, where they reportedly initially provided and then withdrew technical assistance), so my guess would be that the program would need to remain covert.

Israel's relations with the DPR Yemen- should that exist- will presumably reflect to a large degree Israel's domestic politics, since they will be an extremely independent ally by Soviet standards. I wonder, though, what effects an officially socialist Israel would have on the communist/ socialist movement in the Middle East. On the one hand, their popularity might be reduced by association with an unpopular group; but on the other hand opposition to more-US aligned governments might coalesce around them and make them more popular.

Socialism presumably changes Israel quite a bit- this is what I'm least qualified to talk about, so I won't try to predict alternate Israeli politics; however, it's difficult to imagine that very religious groups would have no influence on the nation giving the nature of its founding. Given that they're aligned with the avowedly atheist Soviets in international politics ITTL, that would presumably create some internal friction. Another question is how this PoD effects the geography of Israel- with military situation and the situation at the UN presumably very different all the way back to the Suez Crisis (if there's no or a very different Suez Crisis expect drastically different British politics, btw) then the political situation in Israel could end up very different from OTL just because the territory controlled by Israel might be different and their security situation presumably would be very different. (As a side note, having a technologically advanced and highly motivated ally modifying their equipment based off of actual combat experience could have big effects on Soviet military equipment development).

A Soviet collapse is presumably very bad for Israel- even if they have kept their domestic economy largely free of the inefficiencies of the Soviet sphere (by no means guaranteed) and have made efforts to diversify their import/export base pre-collapse (and it takes two to tango- even if the Israelis make the effort to reach out to the West economically, they're likely to find sanctions and IP restrictions popping up and limiting how closely they can tie into the capitalist sphere) Israel will still face major problems. The West will presumably be more sympathetic to the Arab perspective in their conflict with Israel TTL (whatever that's looked like up till now) and want to resolve any outstanding issues before allowing Israel full access to their markets; and at the same time Israel will be in the ugly position of being a small country tied into a much broader market that's collapsing- even without internal production issues, importing what their industries and consumers are used to and exporting goods initially developed for the Soviet market elsewhere are going to be difficult. Add in Israel's strong need for an efficient military, and therefore the need to find replacements for equipment no longer available from the Soviet sphere- a high-cost program coming at the same time as an economic crash- and the odds of disaster, or at least serious unpleasantness, are uncomfortably high.
 

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If the US is pro Arab, I'm assuming that the Syrian, Egyptian, and Jordanian militaries are going to be much better off while the Israeli military might be slightly worse off?

I feel like Arabs in this ATL are more likely to hold onto Golan, Gaza, and the West Bank.
 

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Another question is how is Israeli socialism organized? Are we more likely to see a much larger expansion of the otl Kibbutz movement and allow socialism to develop from the ground up, or would Israel develop a top to bottom national government that implements "radical" socialist policies from the get go?
 
Antisemitism would be mixed with anti-communism which, in the cold war context, is going to be extremely dangerous for Jews outside of Israel. Yes, they'd try to distance themselves from that, the catch is: would they be able to do so? If not, and Israel keeps decent living standards, maybe more Jews may emigrate to Israel than IOTL?

Better backed Arabs and a worse backed Israel might cause Red Israel to retort to nuclear weapons to avoid military defeat. The USA will not endorse a military conquest of Red Israel with the Holocaust within living memory, but if the Arab states manage to be on the brink of breaking into Israel proper, would the USA be able to hold them on a leash? Also, would a Red Israel by merely existing, encourage Arab workers to embrace communism/socialism and become a threat to the Arab monarchies and dictatorships greater than OTL democratic but also capitalist Israel? If so, Israel's neighbors would see Israel as a greater threat than IOTL
 
Expect communism to be HIGHLY divisive among Jews. American Jews will probably be very anti-communist, and it may lead to a push back into orthodox and conservative circles.
 
What political forces within Israel are supposed to be pushing for this? IOTL the ruling Mapai were not pro-Soviet and preferred to align themselves with the West. Everyone to the right of Mapai would be vehemently anti-Soviet. To the left you have Mapam, which were quite influential in the early 1950's but never close to leading a coalition government, and anyway they abandoned their alignment with the USSR after Khrushchev repudiated Stalinism. Maki would be the only consistent pro-Soviet element in Israeli politics, but they're essentially pariahs by most of the other parties. Additionally, one of the bigger issues in the early 1950's is Israeli relations with Germany after the Holocaust. IOTL Israel forged a relationship with West Germany, after it agreed to give Israel reparations for the Holocaust. The GDR would refuse doing so. So there's a clear monetary incentive for Israel to align itself with the West.
I'd also like to dispel a common myth that Israel in the 1950's and 1960's was close to being Socialist because of the Kibbutzim, or that the government was keen on left-wing economic ideas and just needed a push to the left to go full Soviet. Israeli economist Yossi Zeira points out that actually government policy was always pretty pro-business, and left-wing policies were only enacted as ad-hoc solution to specific problems that plagued a very young state. There was a large trade-union owned sector, but not as a result of policy but rather because of the historical role of the Histadrut in pioneering a lot of economic enterprises in Israel. So to get a socialist Israel you'd need a pretty radical shift within Mapai at the least, one that probably butterflies Ben Gurion away thereby changing the entire course of Israeli politics.

If the US is pro Arab, I'm assuming that the Syrian, Egyptian, and Jordanian militaries are going to be much better off while the Israeli military might be slightly worse off?

I feel like Arabs in this ATL are more likely to hold onto Golan, Gaza, and the West Bank.
Why should that be the case? IIRC Soviet military support for Egypt and Syria only started after 1967 (and never did for Jordan) whereas the IDF was supplied for a few years by France but that stopped before 1967, while American military support only began in 1973.
 

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Israel, to be more socialist, just has to do more than have socialist Kibbutzim and Moshavim, it also has to actually allow worker self-management and actual economic democracy of workers, consumers and government representatives in the top large firms and on the board of directors (either state-owned or worker-owned legal title). Economic planning will have to shift away from the market to a ration-type system based on need, alongside a consumer market, now what economic planning will it take? Will it take it after Gosplan, or will it take after Oskar Lange and Lerner models, or just let it stay indicative planning like Yugoslavia adopted.

Israel would probably take a lot from Titoism and cooperative models of the world, like Mondragon in the 1960's.

Egypt will embrace a state-developmentalist/indicative planning/industrial policy model of economic growth already pioneered by Korea, Japan and Taiwan, with far more radical land reforms than OTL and more government in the economy (but with a bureaucracy and state enterprise managers that is competent) and hardcore capitalism in the economy done by oligopolies (like Zaibatsus or Chaebols). The United States gives lots and lots of aid, economic and agricultural assistance (scientific, breeding, farming education, alternatives to a Tennessee Valley Project-size of Aswan Dam, something like agricultural cooperatives and farm subsidies to stabilize prices of agricultural products and insurance to smallholder farmers due to seasonal floods. Rural capitalism will develop.

Nasserism isn't a thing, but some form of Egyptian state capitalism (you know, to make Egypt Great Again ideology stay) will prevail as an alternative to Nasserism, following on the model that Turkey did, not a praetarian state.
 
Another question is how is Israeli socialism organized? Are we more likely to see a much larger expansion of the otl Kibbutz movement and allow socialism to develop from the ground up, or would Israel develop a top to bottom national government that implements "radical" socialist policies from the get go?
My take is that the most likely path would involve the Histadrut gaining more and more power until it basically controlled the economy.
 
Antisemitism would be mixed with anti-communism which, in the cold war context, is going to be extremely dangerous for Jews outside of Israel. Yes, they'd try to distance themselves from that, the catch is: would they be able to do so? If not, and Israel keeps decent living standards, maybe more Jews may emigrate to Israel than IOTL?

Better backed Arabs and a worse backed Israel might cause Red Israel to retort to nuclear weapons to avoid military defeat. The USA will not endorse a military conquest of Red Israel with the Holocaust within living memory, but if the Arab states manage to be on the brink of breaking into Israel proper, would the USA be able to hold them on a leash? Also, would a Red Israel by merely existing, encourage Arab workers to embrace communism/socialism and become a threat to the Arab monarchies and dictatorships greater than OTL democratic but also capitalist Israel? If so, Israel's neighbors would see Israel as a greater threat than IOTL

Given the systemic issues with the Arab's various military disasters throughout the 20th century, I honestly don't see Israel doing that badly with Soviet gear. A F-4 in place of a Mig-21 for the Egyptian Air Force does them no good if a Israeli Mig wipes it out on the ground on the first day. Likewise a M-60 is going to be in trouble against an aggressive and well managed T-62.
 
What political forces within Israel are supposed to be pushing for this?
You assume Israeli demographic is the same as IOTL. But it won't be. Consider Soviet Jews repatriating in numbers in 1948-1952. With their modern education and professional skills, many of them being war veterans, they will dominate politically and economically.
 
You assume Israeli demographic is the same as IOTL. But it won't be. Consider Soviet Jews repatriating in numbers in 1948-1952. With their modern education and professional skills, many of them being war veterans, they will dominate politically and economically.
Was there much American immigration to Israel?
 
IIRC Soviet military support for Egypt and Syria only started after 1967

Na, the bulk of Egyptian and Syrian weapons were of Czech/Soviet origin long before '67, since the '50s.

whereas the IDF was supplied for a few years by France but that stopped before 1967, while American military support only began in 1973.

Again no; US arms aid began years before '73, when Israel already had many F-4s, A-4s, M-48/60 etc.
 
Given the systemic issues with the Arab's various military disasters throughout the 20th century, I honestly don't see Israel doing that badly with Soviet gear. A F-4 in place of a Mig-21 for the Egyptian Air Force does them no good if a Israeli Mig wipes it out on the ground on the first day. Likewise a M-60 is going to be in trouble against an aggressive and well managed T-62.

Agreed. Generally Soviet weapons may not have been as qualitatively good as their western counterparts, but they were adequate, relatively cheap and could be supplied in large quantities. And the Israelis did well even against more formidable systems. Lightly armored tanks in Israeli service are said to have beaten Egyptian IS-3s in Sinai. Had Israel received the Soviet arms supplied in OTL to Egypt and Syria it might've (by c 1970) created an empire from the Nile to the Euphrates. The USSR btw, would be less likely to restrain Israel than the US. The Kremlin might even have tried to use Israel to take key economic assets like the Suez canal or even arab oil resources in Iraq or the gulf.
 
Agreed. Generally Soviet weapons may not have been as qualitatively good as their western counterparts, but they were adequate, relatively cheap and could be supplied in large quantities. And the Israelis did well even against more formidable systems. Lightly armored tanks in Israeli service are said to have beaten Egyptian IS-3s in Sinai. Had Israel received the Soviet arms supplied in OTL to Egypt and Syria it might've (by c 1970) created an empire from the Nile to the Euphrates. The USSR btw, would be less likely to restrain Israel than the US. The Kremlin might even have tried to use Israel to take key economic assets like the Suez canal or even arab oil resources in Iraq or the gulf.

I think those goals are a bit overly optimistic, but Israel would certainly have done better with the surplus of military hardware then the Arabs, who mostly managed to get much of it blown up during each war.
 
The problem is that Communism is an anti-religious ideology that rejects God and religion. This creates endless enemies and is one of the worst parts of communism, its all consuming power lust.

Israel was founded on rich and intellectual jews migrating there and US development support. Its hard to imagine a Israel as prosperous in this timeline. Israel might very well be successfully invaded by its neighbours in this timeline.
 
With an "Israel like Cuba", there is a fair risk that Israel will cease to exist as a nation during the 1990s or 2000s.
 
Israel was founded on rich and intellectual jews migrating there and US development support. Its hard to imagine a Israel as prosperous in this timeline. Israel might very well be successfully invaded by its neighbours in this timeline.

Certainly a communist Israel wouldn't be as prosperous as a capitalist one associated with the west. But reduced incentives and productivity might be compensated for by the fruits of conquest--perhaps the Suez Canal and the oil of Sinai (on a lasting basis) conceivably even Iraqi oil. Even without conquests Israel might be like North Korea--economically poor but militarily far from a pushover.
 
The problem is that Communism is an anti-religious ideology that rejects God and religion.
This didn't stop the USSR from supporting various arab nationalists in OTL. Unless Israel becomes a theocracy costantly spouting anti-Soviet propaganda , i don't think an alliance between Israel and Moscow is impossible


Its hard to imagine a Israel as prosperous in this timeline. Israel might very well be successfully invaded by its neighbours in this timeline.
Again the arab armies are far more disorganised and less efficent than Israel's armed forces and US' support won't fix this (just look at South Vietnam as proof of this)

Likewise Washington may be even less supportive militarly to the Arabs than OTL USSR, as it has different goals in the region
 
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