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Home Page  |  History  |  About the Kibbutz  | Pictures  |  In the Media  |  Tractors  |
 Hours of Operation  |  Map and Directions   Our YouTube Videos  |   Links
............. Our Programs .............
"A Kibbutz flavor"  | "Kibbutz tour and Falafel dinner"  |  "Become a Kibbutz member for a day"
"Kibbutz past and present"  |  "Lunch en-Route menu"  |  "Kibbutz Breakfast"
 

 
 

      

The Kibbutz

   

A kibbutz is a unique lifestyle that developed in Israel. Egalitarian and communal, the kibbutz is based on mutual aid and assistance. Kibbutz ideology was created by a combination of two prominent early twentieth century movements: Zionism and socialism. Kibbutzim were originally founded as agricultural settlements, and involved various types of farming. 

Both prior to and following the establishment of the State of Israel, the kibbutzim (plural of kibbutz) spearheaded Zionist settlement, and promoted the achievement of national goals. Kibbutz pioneers were considered part of the social elite, and were regarded in the highest respect thanks to the various roles and responsibilities they assumed for the benefit of the public. Kibbutzim engendered many leaders of pre-state Israel, and later Israel leaders, as well as leaders of the Jewish underground organizations Hagana and Palmach, and later of the Israel Defense Forces. Their contribution is demonstrated by the relatively high share of kibbutz recruits who chose to serve in combat units, and as pilots and commanders relative to their percentage in the population. 

The first kibbutz was founded in 1909 on the banks of the Sea of Galilee (the Kinneret) and was named “Degania”. Additional kibbutzim were established in the area, as well as in the nearby Jezreel Valley. To this day, some three hundred kibbutzim have been established throughout Israel. 

The kibbutzim began as utopist and independent settlements. Property was considered communal, and kibbutzim were based on equality, both in terms of production and consumption. The guiding principle for kibbutz life was “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”. Kibbutzim were based on joint funds, which provided for the needs of all members. It is noteworthy that the kibbutz way of life was based on the pioneers’ free choice rather than on coercion or force, such as in various communist regimes. 

Egalitarian values were strictly adhered to until the 1970s and kibbutz members did not own any private property, or even articles of clothing. Gifts and money from people outside the kibbutz were given to the joint fund. All important decisions were and continue to be made in the framework of democratic meetings, in which any member – male or female – has an equal right to speak his or her mind and vote according to his or her will.  

Many kibbutzim adopted an educational approach of communal education. Children were divided according to age and lived with their peers in children’s houses, studying, eating and sleeping there. Children spent with several hours every afternoon with their parents.

Over time, the kibbutzim organized in joint movements and organizations and became the vanguard in almost every realm of Israeli society: military, government, economy and culture. Kibbutz members served in key positions in the state’s leadership, in the army and in public institutions. Over the past decades, the kibbutzim’s status has crumbled and many kibbutzim have undergone privatization, and some have been dismantled. Individual liberties grew more important and as a consequence, kibbutz members were able to own private property.

Among the young generation that grew up and was educated on kibbutzim, many refused to adopt the kibbutz’ rigid socialist perspective, and felt a growing pull to fulfill themselves as individuals. Mistakes, as well as wasteful mismanagement led many kibbutzim to experience economic hardship and heavy debt. The social and political atmosphere in Israel changed and kibbutzim were regarded in a negative light, further worsening their status. 

As a result, most the kibbutzim are at a critical crossroads. Kibbutz members face vital decisions: should they maintain their original lifestyle or choose vast changes which will create a new kind of kibbutz? Though the future is uncertain, the kibbutz is certainly an exceptional social phenomenon that has made a significant imprint on history.

 
     
   
 
 
 

Home Page  |  History  |  About the Kibbutz  | Pictures  |  In the Media  |  Tractors  |
 Hours of Operation  |  Map and Directions   Our YouTube Videos  |   Links
............. Our Programs .............
"A Kibbutz flavor"  | "Kibbutz tour and Falafel dinner"  |  "Become a Kibbutz member for a day"
"Kibbutz past and present"  |  "Lunch en-Route menu"  |  "Kibbutz Breakfast"

 

 
 

Email us to rishonim@ein-shemer.org.il

The Ein Shemer unique kibbutz experience is on your way when traveling Israel, just minutes away from Caesarea & about an hour drive from Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion airport coming from the south, drive 30 minutes and you are in Haifa in the north.

Our experience is for all ages, we offer great programs and meals en route for individuals and groups for different interests – just call us and we will set the right program for you.

 
     
   

© The Old Courtyard at Kibbutz Ein Shemer. Developed and hosted by UNiQO.