Kibbutzim By, Sasha Kirsch
What is it? • Kibbutz is a Hebrew word which means “communal settlement” or a community of families. It is a rural farm community. It is a society where the members live together and share the work and responsibility which results in them taking care of each other and in the end they are better off than acting like isolated families. It is a society where everything is shared. Everyone owns everything instead of individual families owning things. Everyone shares in the work. It is a home for those who have chosen it.
The first kibbutzim • The first Kibbutzim(plural) were founded by a group of pioneers on land acquired by the Jewish National Fund. This land was located by The Sea of Galilee. At the time Israel was not yet a nation. (1909) • These pioneers overcame many hardships while developing very successful communities which have played an important role in the establishment of Israel. • Hagana members washing up at the faucets installed at Kibbutz Hanita in the Western Galilee
Getting Started • The founders wanted to transform city dwellers to become farmers. The Kibbutz Farmers transformed the land from barren desert to land that produced field crops, orchards, poultry, dairy and more recently organic agriculture. • Now they are responsible for a large majority of the food that is produced in Israel. • Kibbutizm also produce industrial products like metal work, plastics and processed food. Although only 2.5% of the population of Israel works on a Kibbutz they produce 33% of farm produce and 6.3% of manufactured goods.
Organization • Most kibbutzim are laid out similarly. The residential area includes the members homes and gardens, children’s houses and playgrounds, dining hall, auditorium, library etc. Next to the residential area are sheds for dairy cattle and modern chicken coops. To get from one place to another within the Kibbutz, people either walk or ride bicycles. Electric carts are provided for the disabled and elderly. • Agricultural fields, orchards and fish ponds are located on the outside perimeter.
How it functions • Kibbutzim functions as a direct democracy. The general assembly of all its members who make policies, elect officers, pass a budget for the kibbutz and approve new members. • The day to day affairs are handled by elected committees such as housing, health and culture.
Raising Children • Children in the majority of kibbutzim sleep at their parents’ home until they reach high school age. Parents are becoming more and more involved in their children’s activities and the families are gaining more importance in the kibbutz community. • Children grow up with the knowledge of the value and importance of work that everyone must do their part. • From kindergarten the educational system focuses on cooperation in everyday life and from the lower school grades these young children are assigned different jobs and take decisions referring to their peer group.
Schools • Elementary schools are usually on the kibbutz premises. Older children go to a regional school serving area kibbutzim. The purpose of this is so they can experience a wider range of academic subjects and to be social. • About 40% of all kibbutz children come back to settle on their kibbutz after army service. • The majority of kibbutz members today grew up in the kibbutz and decided to build their life there.
Work Ethic • Members in the kibbutz community treat the work ethic very specifically. There is a concept that labor gives a person dignity no matter how insignificant the work may be. • Members are assigned to positions for different amount of times while routine jobs like kitchen and dining hall jobs are done in a rotation basis. • Each economic branch is run by an elected administrator who is replaced every 2-3 years. • Women are treated equally to men in the labor factor with all jobs in all parts of the kibbutz open to them.
Where kibbutz members work Branch: % • Agriculture & Fisheries……………… 24 • Industry & Quarries…………….. 24 • Tourism, Commerce & Finance…………. 11 • Transportation & Communication…………. 5 • Building & Utilities……………………. 1 • Public & Community Services……………….. 18 • Personal Services……………………….. 17