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A kibbutz (Hebrew: קיבוץ, קִבּוּץ, lit. "gathering, clustering"; plural kibbutzim) is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism. Over the last decades, most Kibbutzim have been privatized and no longer practice communal living. Less than five percent of Israelis live on kibbutzim. A member of a Kibbutz is called a Kibbutznik (Hebrew: קִבּוּצְנִיק).
The first kibbutzim
Pogroms, or riots directed towards a certain group of the population, flared up once again in Russia in the first years of the 20th century. In 1903 at Kishinev peasant mobs were incited against Jews after a blood libel. Riots again took place in the wake of Russia's defeat in the Russo-Japanese War and the 1905 Revolution. The occurrence of new pogroms inspired yet another wave of Russian Jews to emigrate. As in the 1880s, most emigrants went to the United States, but a minority went to Palestine. It was this generation that would include founders of the kibbutzim.
Like the members of the First Aliya who came before them, most members of the Second Aliya wanted to be farmers in the Trans-Jordan. Those who would go on to found the kibbutzim first went to a village of the Biluim, Rishon LeZion, to find work there. The founders of the kibbutz were morally appalled by what they saw in the Jewish settlers there "with their Jewish overseers, Arab peasant laborers, and Bedouin guards." They saw the new villages and were reminded of the places they had left in Eastern Europe. Instead of the beginning of a pure Jewish commonwealth, they felt that what they saw recreated the Jewish socioeconomic structure of the Pale of Settlement, where Jews functioned in clean jobs, while other groups did the dirty work.
Yossef Baratz, who went on to found the first kibbutz, wrote of his time working at Zikhron Yaakov:
- We were happy enough working on the land, but we knew more and more certainly that the ways of the old settlements were not for us. This was not the way we hoped to settle the country—this old way with Jews on top and Arabs working for them; anyway, we thought that there shouldn't be employers and employed at all. There must be a better way.
Though Baratz and other laborers wanted to farm the land themselves, becoming independent farmers was not a realistic option in 1909. As Arthur Ruppin, a proponent of Jewish agricultural colonization of the Trans-Jordan would later say, "The question was not whether group settlement was preferable to individual settlement; it was rather one of either group settlement or no settlement at all."
Ottoman Palestine was a harsh environment, quite unlike the Russian plains the Jewish immigrants were familiar with. The Galilee was swampy, the Judean Hills rocky, and the South of the country, the Negev, was a desert. To make things more challenging, most of the settlers had no prior farming experience. The sanitary conditions were also poor. Malaria was more than a risk, it was nearly a guarantee. Along with malaria, there were typhus and cholera.
In addition to having a difficult climate and relatively infertile soils, Ottoman Palestine was in some ways a lawless place. Nomadic Bedouins would frequently raid farms and settled areas. Sabotage of irrigation canals and burning of crops were also common. Living collectively was simply the most logical way to be secure in an unwelcoming land.
On top of considerations of safety, there were also those of economic survival. Establishing a new farm in the area was a capital-intensive project; collectively the founders of the kibbutzim had the resources to establish something lasting, while independently they did not.
Finally, the land that was going to be settled by Yossef Baratz and his comrades had been purchased by the greater Jewish community. From around the world, Jews dropped coins into JNF "Blue Boxes" for land purchases in Palestine. Since these efforts were on behalf of all Jews in the area, it would not have made sense for their land purchases to be conveyed to individuals.
In 1909, Baratz, nine other men, and two women established themselves at the southern end of the Sea of Galilee near an Arab village called "Umm Juni." These teenagers had hitherto worked as day laborers draining swamps, as masons, or as hands at the older Jewish settlements. Their dream was now to work for themselves, building up the land. They called their community "Kvutzat Degania", after the cereals which they grew there. Their community would grow into the first kibbutz.
The founders of Degania worked backbreaking labor attempting to rebuild what they saw as their ancestral land and to spread the social revolution. One pioneer later said "the body is crushed, the legs fail, the head hurts, the sun burns and weakens." At times half of the kibbutz members could not report for work. Many young men and women left the kibbutz for easier lives in Jewish Trans-Jordan cities or in the Diaspora.
Despite the difficulties, by 1914, Degania had fifty members. Other kibbutzim were founded around the Sea of Galilee and the nearby Jezreel Valley. The founders of Degania themselves soon left Degania to become apostles of agriculture and socialism for newer kibbutzim.
During the British Mandate
The fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, followed by the arrival of the British, brought with it benefits for the Jewish community of Palestine and its kibbutzim. The Ottoman authorities had made immigration to Palestine difficult and restricted land purchases. Rising anti-semitism forced many Jews to flee Eastern Europe. To escape the pogroms, tens of thousands of Russian Jews immigrated to Palestine in the early 1920s, in a wave of immigration that was called the "Third Aliya."
After the Bolshevik consolidation of power, Jews of Russia and Ukraine could not emigrate. In the rest of the 1920s Jewish immigrants to Palestine would come from the rest of Eastern and Central Europe, the "Fourth Aliya." These Third and Fourth Aliya immigrants would actually do more for the growth of the kibbutz movement than the immigrants of previous immigration groups.
Partly based on German youth movements and the Boy Scouts, Zionist Jewish youth movements flourished in the 1920s in virtually every European nation. Youth movements came in every shade of the political spectrum. There were rightist movements like Betar and religious movements like Chabad, but most of these Zionist youth movements were socialist such as Dror, Brit Haolim, Kadima, Habonim (now Habonim Dror), and Wekleute. Of the leftist youth movements the most significant in kibbutz history was to be the Marxist Hashomer Hatzair. In the 1920s the left-oriented youth movements would become feeders for the kibbutzim.
In contrast to those who came as part of the Second Aliya, these youth group members had some agricultural training before embarking. Members of the Second Aliya and Third Aliyas were also less likely to be Russian, since emigration from Russia was closed off after the Russian Revolution of 1917. European Jews who settled on kibbutzim between the World Wars were from other countries in Eastern Europe, including Germany. Finally, the members of the Third Aliya were to the left of the founders of Degania, and believed that voluntary socialism could work for everyone. They considered themselves to be a vanguard movement that would inspire the rest of the world.
Degania in the 1910s seems to have confined its discussions to practical matters, but the conversations of the next generation in the 1920s and 1930s were free-flowing discussions of the cosmos. Instead of having a meeting in a dining room, meetings were held around campfires. Instead of beginning a meeting with a reading of minutes, a meeting would begin with a group dance. Remembering her youth on a kibbutz by the Sea of Galilee, a woman remembered "Oh, how beautiful it was when we all took part in the discussions, [they were] nights of searching for one another—that is what I call those hallowed nights. During the moments of silence, it seemed to me that from each heart a spark would burst forth, and the sparks would unite in one great flame penetrating the heavens…. At the center of our camp a fire burns, and under the weight of the hora the earth groans a rhythmic groan, accompanied by wild songs."
Kibbutzim founded in the 1920s tended to be larger than the kibbutzim like Degania which were founded prior to World War I. Degania had had twelve members at its founding. Ein Harod, founded only a decade later, began with 215 members.
Altogether kibbutzim grew and flourished in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1922 there were scarcely 700 individuals living on kibbutzim in Palestine. By 1927 the kibbutz population was approaching 2,000. By the eve of World War II the kibbutz population was 25,000, 5% of the total population of the yishuv, while in 1950 they grew up to 65,000, 7.5% of the population. However, because of major crises in the two largest kibbutz movements that became leftists in the late 1940s (see below), there was mass attrition and growth almost stopped until the 1960s when it renewed up to the 1989 when population reached the peak of 129,000.
The kibbutzim grew up as three main movements organized as federations in 1927-1929 with different ideologies and practices, but the differences between kibbutzim were always smaller than their similarities. In 1927 was established the mainstream movement known as "United Kibbutz", or "'Kibbutz Hameuhad" that consisted some half of the kibbutzim. Some new kibbutzim that had been founded by youth of HaShomer Hatzair who banded together to form another countrywide association, Kibbutz Artzi which consisted some 30% of kibbutzim. In 1936, the Kibbutz Artzi Federation founded its own political party called the Socialist League of Palestine but generally known as Hashomer Hatzair. It merged with Hakibbutz Hameuchad left-wing party to become Mapam once the state of Israel was established. Mapam was a leftist party that revered the Soviet Union, a policy adopted by main leaders Tabenkin of Kibbutz Meuchad and Yaari of Kibbutz Artzi in order to preserve their rule 
In 1928 Kibbutz Degania and other small kibbutzim formed together a group called "Chever Hakvutzot", the "Association of Kvutzot." Kvutzot kibbutzim deliberately stayed under 200 in population. They believed that for collective life to work, groups had to be small and intimate, or else the trust between members would be lost. Kvutzot kibbutzim also lacked youth-group affiliations in Europe.
The Kibbutz Meuhad accused Artzi and the kvutzot of elitism. Hameuhad criticized Artzi for thinking of itself as a socialist elite, and they criticized the kvutzot for staying too selective and small. Hameuhad kibbutzim took in as many members as they could. Givat Brenner eventually came to have more than 1,500 members.
Artzi kibbutzim were also more devoted to equality of the sexes than other kibbutzim. A 1920s, 1930s era kibbutz woman would call her husband ishi—"My man"—rather than the usual Hebrew word, ba'ali, which literally means "My owner." They were also characterized by the "common education" where children were raised in common dormitories and stayed at their parents' home only a few hours a day.
There were also differences in religion. Kibbutz Artzi and Kibbutz Meuchad kibbutzim were secular, even staunchly atheistic, proudly trying to be "monasteries without God." Most mainstream kibbutzim also disdained the Orthodox Judaism of their parents, but they wanted their new communities to have Jewish characteristics nonetheless. Friday nights were still "Shabbat" with a white tablecloth and fine food, and work was not done on Saturday if it could be avoided. Only late some kibbutzim adopted Yom Kippur as the day to discuss fears for the future of the kibbutz. Kibbutzim also had collective bar mitzvahs for their children.
If kibbutzniks did not pray several times a day, kibbutzniks marked holidays like Shavuot, Sukkot, and Passover with dances, meals, and celebrations. One Jewish holiday, Tu B'shvat, the "birthday of the trees" was substantially revived by kibbutzim. All in all, holidays with some kind of natural component, like Passover and Sukkoth, were the most significant for kibbutzim.
The kibbutz movement developed an overtly religious faction late in its history, a group now called the Religious Kibbutz Movement. The first religious kibbutz was Ein Tzurim, founded in 1946. Ein Tzurim was first located by Safad, then by Hebron in what is now the West Bank, then finally in the Negev. Religious kibbutzim are obviously religious, but they were and are no less collectivist than secular kibbutzim. Some religious kibbutzim now identify with the "hippie Hasidism" of rabbis like Shlomo Carlebach.
In Ottoman times kibbutzim worried about criminal violence, not political violence. The lack of Arab hostility was due to the small number of Jews in the country at the time. Arab opposition increased as the Balfour Declaration and the wave of Jewish aliyas to Palestine began to tilt the demographic balance of the area. There were bloody anti-Arab and anti-Jewish riots in Jerusalem in 1921 and in Hebron in 1929. In the late 1930s Arab-Jewish violence became virtually constant, a time called the "Great Uprising" in Palestinian historiography.
During the Great Uprising kibbutzim began to assume a more prominent military role than they had previously. Rifles were purchased or manufactured and kibbutz members drilled and practiced shooting. Yigal Allon, an Israeli soldier and statesman, explained the role of kibbutzim in the military activities of the yishuv.
- The planning and development of pioneering Zionist were from the start at least partly determined by politico-strategic needs. The choice of the location of the settlements, for instance, was influenced not only by considerations of economic viability but also and even chiefly by the needs of local defense, overall settlement strategy, and by the role such blocks of settlements might play in some future, perhaps decisive all out struggle. Accordingly, land was purchased, or more often reclaimed, in remote parts of the country.
Kibbutzim also played a role in defining the borders of the Jewish state-to-be. By the late 1930s when it appeared that Palestine would be partitioned between Arabs and Jews, kibbutzim were planted in remote parts of the Mandate to make it more likely that the land would be incorporated into the Jewish state (which was called eventually Israel), not a Palestinian Arab state. Many of these kibbutzim were founded, literally, in the middle of the night. In 1946, on the day after Yom Kippur, eleven new "Tower and Stockade" kibbutzim were hurriedly established in the northern part of the Negev to give Israel a better claim to this arid, but strategically important, region.
Not all kibbutzniks worked to expand the amount of territory that would be given to the Jewish state. The leftwing, Marxist faction of the kibbutz movement, Kibbutz Artzi, was the last major element in the yishuv to favor a binational state, rather than partition. Kibbutz Artzi, however, still wanted free Jewish immigration, which the Arabs opposed.
Kibbutzniks were considered to have fought very bravely in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, emerging from the conflict with enhanced prestige in the nascent State of Israel. Members of Kibbutz Degania were instrumental in stopping the Syrian tank advance into the Galilee with homemade gasoline bombs. Another kibbutz, Maagan Michael, manufactured the bullets for the Sten guns that won the war. Maagan Michael's clandestine ammunition factory was later separated from the kibbutz and grew into TAAS.
The establishment of Israel and flood of Jewish refugees from Europe and the Muslim world presented challenges and opportunities for kibbutzim. The immigrant tide offered kibbutzim a chance to expand through new members and inexpensive labor, but it also meant that Ashkenazi kibbutzim would have to adapt to Jews whose background was far different from their own.
The first challenge that kibbutzim faced was the question of how to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern Jews, or mizrahi. Until the 1950s, nearly all kibbutzniks were from Eastern Europe, culturally different from their cousins from places like Morocco, Tunisia, and Iraq. Many kibbutzim found themselves hiring Mizrahim to work their fields and expand infrastructure, but not actually admitting very many as members. Since few mizrahi would ever join kibbutzim, the percentage of Israelis living on kibbutzim peaked around the time of statehood.
Another dispute occurred solely over ideology. Israel had been initially recognized by both the USA and the Soviet Union. For the first three years of its existence, Israel was in the Non-Aligned Movement, but David Ben-Gurion gradually began to take sides with the West. The question of which side of the Cold War Israel should choose created fissures in the kibbutz movement. Dining halls segregated according to politics and a few kibbutzim even saw Marxist members leave. This controversy cooled once Stalin's cruelty became better known and once it became clear that the Soviet Union was systematically anti-Semitic. The disillusionment particularly set in after the Prague Trials in which an envoy of Hashomer Hatzair in Prague was tried in an anti-Semitic show trial.
Yet another controversy in the kibbutz movement was the question over Holocaust reparations from West Germany. Should kibbutz members turn over income that was the product of a very personal loss? If Holocaust survivors were allowed to keep their reparation money, what would that mean for the principle of equality? Eventually, many kibbutzim made this one concession to inequality by letting Holocaust survivors keep all or a percentage of their reparations. Reparations that were turned over to the collective were used for building expansion and even recreational activities.
Kibbutzniks enjoyed a steady and gradual improvement in their standard of living in the first few decades after independence. In the 1960s, kibbutzim actually saw their standard of living improve faster than Israel's general population. Most kibbutz swimming pools date from the good decade of the 1960s.
Kibbutzim also continued to play an outsize role in Israel's defense apparatus. In the 1950s and 1960s many kibbutzim were in fact founded by an Israel Defense Forces group called Nahal. Many of these 1950s and 1960s Nahal kibbutzim were founded on the precarious and porous borders of the state. In the Six-Day War, when Israel lost 800 soldiers, 200 of them were from kibbutzim. The prestige that kibbutzniks enjoyed in Israel in the 1960s was reflected in the Knesset. When only 4% of Israelis were kibbutzniks, kibbutzniks made up 15% of Israel's parliament.
As late as the 1970s, kibbutzim seemed to be thriving in every way. Kibbutzniks performed working class, or even peasant class, occupations, yet enjoyed a middle class lifestyle.
Decline of the kibbutz movement
With a changing of the generations in the kibbutzim societies, several wide changes occurred in the structure and culture of the kibbutzim. In general, the process could be described in which a significantly weakening happened to the different communal characteristic.
With time, the kibbutz members’ sense of identification with the kibbutz and its goals significantly decreased. This process originated both from personal frustrations among the kibbutz members which development as a result of internal processes which happened in the kibbutz, and from the growing stratification and inequality of kibbutz society because of the capitalistic cultures of inter-kibbutz organizations headed by kibbutz elite members and capitalistic cultures adopted by many kibbutz factory managers who followed the lead of the former elite. In addition, over the years some of the kibbutz members made professional careers outside the kibbutz and followed the norms of capitalist society and much like the two former elites also accumulated power, privileges, prestige and other capitals by which some of them or the former elites ruled over the kibbutzim and made their democracy largely ineffective  As part of this process, remoteness was created between the individual and basic values of the kibbutz. This weakening resulted in the breach of the balance which existed between the individual values and the values of the kibbutz. This gap was reflected also in with motivation problems at work.
The work motivational methods of the Kibbutzim changed, and an emphasis was placed on the creation of various social compensations to urge the workers to continue their work, instead of accepting the concept of canceling work. These processes occurred in parallel with several severe economic crises, which included, among other things, a decrease in the incomes and a severe banking crisis which later was named “the kibbutzim crises”.
There are several reasons for the weakening of the linkage between the kibbutz members' to the kibbutz:
- The privatization processes and the adoption of non-cooperative beliefs in all of Israeli society, affected the moral and structural support of kibbutzim, and with the years penetrated the new generations of the kibbutzim.
- The kibbutzim were built on the attempt to create a permanent and institutionalized framework, which would be able to set a pattern of conduct which would successfully handle the implementation of shared values. The attempt to place such a regular pattern required creativity in the adoption of kibbutz practices to its growth and changing kibbutz system and encompassing society, but kibbutz leadership suppressed innovators and critical thinkers, causing either failures to deal with changes or adoption of capitalist solutions that negated kibbutz basic principles.
- The kibbutzim had a rural patterns of settlements, while over the years the Israeli society began adopting urban patterns of settlements. The lack of match between the patterns of the kibbutz society and the majority of the Israeli society, appealed the strong linkage between the kibbutzim with the entire Israeli society, a principle which didn’t allow the continuation of the collaborative model (because of the internal weakening and the loss of the all-Israeli legitimacy).
- The kibbutzim were established during the pioneer period and were the fulfillment of the Zionist vision, during that period of time every member was required to give the maximum from himself for the good of the collective: the kibbutz and the state. In addition, as a group it was easier to deal with the common problems of the individuals – which allowed the recruitment of a large number of people for maintaining the safety of the community at that time, and therefore this way of life was suited for the Zionist goals more than other forms of life at that time.
- The original concept of the kibbutzim was based to a large extent on self-sacrifice of its members for the sake of abstract foundations and not on the cancellation of work, and therefore after the pioneer period the linkage between the kibbutz members decreased, due to the decline in the pioneering spirit and the decline in the importance of the self-sacrifice values.
- When the kibbutz was perceived as an initiator for values national objectives, it was very much appreciated in the Israeli society and it was easier for the members to identify themselves with the kibbutz, its function and it’s significantly. With the decrease of its appreciation and the minimizing of the social significances in the Israeli society, the kibbutz identity weakened.
- The kibbutzim weren't capable of dealing with the increase in the standard of living in order to keep the communal values relevant, which eventually led to the changes in patterns of life of many members which harmed the relevancy of the communal framework which was not adapted to this.
- The globalization processes and the kibbutz failure to block them exposed the kibbutz society to a different type of culture. For example, after kibbutz members were allowed to have television sets in their own homes, the kibbutz members were exposed to “the good life” in which people were compensated for their work and could buy themselves different luxurious items. The kibbutzim were not capable of dealing with these processes.
- The fall of the Soviet Union resulted in the weakening of socialist beliefs around the world, including in the kibbutz society. This process was followed by the capitalist system which became stronger and started spreading and the when the United States became the sole superpower, as well as a media exposure to the totalitarian characteristics of Joseph Stalin's regime, and the violent large scaled tyranny and oppression manifestations which followed it.
Processes of change in the kibbutzim
During the 1980s, following the peak of the kibbutzim crisis, many people started leaving their kibbutzim, and there was considerable tension due to the economic situation. In order to cope with the situation, some kibbutzim began to change in various ways.
The changes which occurred could be divided into three main types:
- Extensive privatization of the kibbutz services - in fact, such privatization had been introduced over the past two decades in many kibbutzim. Most of these privatization processes, however, were made in matters which were considered relatively minor. Currently, many kibbutzim which have privatized (some of them with subsidies) have also privatized the education and health systems, which were once considered untouchable.
- "Differential wage" - one famous characteristic of the kibbutzim was that each kibbutz member recevied an equal budget according to his or her needs, regardless of what job they held. In many kibbutzim, members are now paid differentially based on the work they do.
- "Association of properties" - refers to the transfer of some of the properties which belong to the kibbutz, in its capacity as a cooperative commonality, to the ownership of individual kibbutz members. This is actually true privatization (unlike the services privatization). These assets include the homes where the members live and a sort of a "stock" in the manufacturing component of the kibbutz. This change allows kibbutz members to sell and bequeath both types of properties, within certain limitations.
Since the mid 1990s, the number of kibbutzim making significant changes in their lifestyle continued to grow, while the resistance to these changes gradually decreased, with only a few dozen kibbutzim still functioning under more traditional models. It is important to note, however, that each kibbutz has undergone different processes of change. There are many people, outside and inside the kibbutzim, who claim these changes bring to an end the kibbutz concept. Among the communities which had recently ceased being kibbutzim (officially): are Megiddo in the Jezreel Valley, HaGoshrim in the Upper Galilee and Beit Nir in the Negev,
These processes have created the "renewing kibbutz" (הקיבוץ המתחדש ) – a kibbutz settlement pattern which isn't fully based on the original values of the kibbutz. Kibbutzim continuing under the original kibbutz values are associated with the "collaborative model" (הזרם השיתופי).
Ideology of the kibbutz movement
First Aliyah immigrants were largely religious, but those of the Second Aliyah were mainly secular. A Jewish work ethic thus replaced religious practice. Berl Katznelson, a Labor Zionist leader articulated this when he said "Everywhere the Jewish laborer goes, the divine presence goes with him.".
In addition to redeeming the Jewish nation through work, there was also an element of redeeming Eretz Yisrael - Palestine - in the kibbutz ideology. In the contemporary Yiddish anti-Zionist literature that was circulating around Eastern Europe, Palestine was mocked as dos gepeigerte land, "the country that had died." Kibbutz members found immense gratification in bringing the land back to life by planting trees, draining swamps, and countless other hard-graft activities to make the land (invariably wetlands) productive. In soliciting donations, kibbutzim and other Zionist settlement activities presented themselves as "making the desert bloom."
Like most other Jewish agricultural communities, kibbutzim were founded in three relatively small, flat, low-lying regions of the country, the upper Jordan Valley, the Jezreel Valley and the Sharon coastal plain. The land was marshy and highly fertile, but available for purchase because it was infested with malaria and thus unproductive. Most early kibbutzniks, including David ben Gurion himself, suffered from malaria. In areas of higher elevation without standing water, where mosquitos could not breed—such as the area now called the West Bank—there were few if any kibbutzim.
Members of a kibbutz, or kibbutzniks, like other participants in the Zionist movement, had not considered the possibility of conflict between Jews and Arabs over Palestine. Mainstream Zionists predicted the Arab population would be grateful for the economic benefits that the Jews would bring. The left wing of the kibbutz movement believed that the enemies of the Arab peasants were Arab landowners (called effendis), not fellow Jewish farmers. By the late 1930s as the struggle against world fascism and for a political refuge for persecuted Jews began, kibbutzniks began to assume a military role in the New Yishuv.
The first kibbutzniks hoped to be more than plain farmers in Palestine. They even hoped for more than a Jewish homeland there: they wanted to create a new type of society where all would be equal and free from exploitation. The early kibbutzniks wanted to be both free from working for others and from the guilt of exploiting hired work. Thus was born the idea that Jews would band together, holding their property in common, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."
Kibbutz members were not classic Marxists though their system partially resembled Communism. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels both shared a disdain for conventional formulations of the nation-state. Leninists were hostile to Zionism, but nevertheless the two main kibbutz leaders, Tabenkin and Yaari, having initially been attracted to anarchist ideas, commenced in the late 1930s pushing their movements leftward to reverence of Stalin's dictatorship in order to save their leaderships. They succeeded in 1948, established Mapam party that adored the Soviet Union when supported the establishment of Israeli state, although most Kibbutz Artzi members opposed Yaari's move. Soon Stalin became hostile to Israel as it served Soviet diplomatic and military interests in the Arab world. This caused major crises and mass exit in both Kibbutz Meuchad and Kibbutz Artzi kibbutzim, especially after the 1953 Doctors' Plot in Moscow and the Prague showcase Trials. But even after Nikita Khrushchev's 1956 denouncement of Stalinism in the "secret speech," the two leaders suppressed young leaders and the many members who rejected communism, since it served their rule. However, to this day many kibbutzim remain strongholds of left-wing Israeli politics.
Although kibbutzniks practiced a form of communism themselves, they did not believe that it could work for everyone; for example, the Kibbutz political parties never called for the abolition of private property. Kibbutzniks saw their kibbutzim as collective enterprises within a free market system. Kibbutzim also practise active democracy in organisation: periodic elections are held for Kibbutz functions as well as an active participation in national elections.
Kibbutzim were not the only contemporary communal enterprises: pre-war Palestine also saw the development of communal villages called moshavim (singular moshav). In a moshav, marketing and major farm purchases would be done collectively, but personal lives were entirely private. Although much less famous than kibbutzim, moshavim became more numerous and popular than kibbutzim after the establishment of Israel in 1948.
In 2009, most votes from kibbutzim went to Kadima, Labor, and Meretz.
The principle of equality was taken extremely seriously up until the 1970s. Kibbutzniks did not individually own tools, or even clothing. Gifts and income received from outside were turned over to the common treasury. If a member received a gift in services—like a visit to a relative who was a dentist or a trip abroad paid for by a parent—there could be arguments at members' meetings about the propriety of accepting such a gift.
The arrival of children at a new kibbutz inevitably posed an ethical dilemma. If everything was held in common, then who was in charge of the children? This question was answered by regarding the children as belonging to all, even to the point of kibbutz mothers breastfeeding babies which were not their own. For most kibbutzim, the arrival of children was a sobering experience: "When we saw our first children in the playpen, hitting one another, or grabbing toys just for themselves, we were overcome with anxiety. What did it mean that even an education in communal life couldn't uproot these egotistical tendencies? The utopia of our initial social conception was slowly, slowly destroyed."
In the 1920s kibbutzim began a practice of raising children communally away from their parents in special communities called "Children's Societies" (Mossad Hinuchi). The theory was that trained nurses and teachers would be better care-providers than amateur (and busy) parents. Children and parents would have better relationships due to the Children's Societies, since parents would not have to be disciplinarians. Also, it was hoped that raising children away from parents would liberate mothers from their "biological tragedy." Instead of spending hours a day raising children, women could thus be free to work or enjoy leisure.
Role of women
There is much to be said about the role of women on kibbutzim. In the early days there were always more men than women on kibbutzim. Kibbutzim tended to be male-dominated places. Memoirs of early kibbutz life tend to show female kibbutzniks as desperate to perform the same kinds of roles as kibbutz men, from digging up rocks to planting trees. At Degania at least, it seems that the men wanted the women to continue to perform traditional female roles, such as cooking, sewing, and cleaning.
Eventually the men of the kibbutz gave in and permitted - and even expected - women to perform the same roles as men, including armed guard duty. The desire to liberate women from traditional maternal duties was another ideological underpinning of the Children's Society system. Interestingly, women born on kibbutzim were much less reluctant to perform traditional female roles. It was the generation of women born on kibbutzim that eventually ended the Societies of Children. Also, although there was a "masculinization of women", there was no corresponding "feminization" of men. Women may have worked the fields, but men did not work childcare.
Social lives were held in common as well, not only property. As an example, most kibbutz dining halls exclusively utilized benches, not as an issue of cost or convenience, but because benches were construed as another way of expressing communal values. At some kibbutzim husbands and wives were discouraged from sitting together, as marriage was an expressed form of exclusivity. In The Kibbutz Community and Nation Building, Paula Rayman reports that Kibbutz Har refused to buy teakettles for its members in the 1950s; the issue being not the cost but that couples owning teakettles would mean more time spent together in their apartments, rather than with the community in the dining hall.
Unsurprisingly, the exclusively communal life proved hard for some. Every kibbutz saw new members quit after a few years. Since kibbutzniks had no individual bank accounts, any purchase not made at the kibbutz canteen had to be approved by a committee, a potentially humiliating and time-wasting experience. Kibbutzim also had their share of members who were not hard workers, or who abused common property; there would always be resentment against these "parasites." Finally, kibbutzim, as small, isolated communities, tended to be places of gossip, exacerbated by lack of privacy and the regimented work and leisure schedules.
Although major decisions about the future of the kibbutz were made by consensus or by voting, day-to-day decisions about where people would work were made by elected leaders. Typically, kibbutzniks and masakaries would learn their assignments by consulting the duty sheet at the dining hall.
Kibbutz memoirs from the Pioneer era report that kibbutz meetings varied from heated arguments to free-flowing philosophical discussions, whereas memoirs and accounts from kibbutz observers from the 1950s and 1960s report that kibbutz meetings were businesslike but poorly attended.
Kibbutzim attempted to rotate people into different jobs. One week a person might work in planting, the next with livestock, the week after in the kibbutz factory and the following week in the laundry. Even managers would have to work in menial jobs. Through rotation, people took part in every kind of work, but it interfered with any process of specialization.
Children's Societies were one of the features of kibbutz life that most interested outsiders. In the heyday of Children's Societies, parents would only spend two hours a day, typically in the afternoon, with their children. In Kibbutz Artzi parents were explicitly forbidden to put their children to bed at night. As children got older, parents could go for days on end without seeing their offspring, other than through chance encounters somewhere in the grounds.
Some children who went through Children's Societies said they loved the experience, others remain ambivalent. One vocal group maintains that growing up without one's parents was very difficult. Years later, a kibbutz member described her childhood in a Children's Society:
"Allowed to suckle every four hours, left to cry and develop our lungs, we grew up without the basic security needed for survival. Sitting on the potty at regular intervals next to other children doing the same, we were educated to be the same; but we were, for all that, different… At night the grownups leave and turn off all the lights. You know you will wet the bed because it is too frightening to go to the lavatory."
Aversion to sex was not part of the kibbutz ideology; to this end, teenagers were not segregated at night in Children's Societies, yet many visitors to kibbutzim were astonished at how conservative the communities tended to be. In Children of the Dream, Bruno Bettelheim quoted a kibbutz friend, "at a time when the American girls preen themselves, and try to show off as much as possible sexually, our girls cover themselves up and refuse to wear clothing that might show their breasts or in any other fashion be revealing." Kibbutz divorce rates were and are extremely low. Unfortunately, from the point of view of the adults in the community, marriage rates among communally raised children were equally low. This conservatism on the part of kibbutz children has been attributed to the Westermarck effect—a form of reverse sexual imprinting that causes children raised together from an early age to reject each other as potential partners, even where they are not blood relatives.
From the beginning, Kibbutzim had a reputation as culture-friendly and nurturing of the arts. Many kibbutzniks were and are writers, actors, or artists. Kibbutzim typically offer theater companies, choirs, orchestras, athletic leagues, and special-interest classes. In 1953 Givat Brenner staged the play My Glorious Brothers, about the Maccabee revolt, building a real village on a hilltop as a set, planting real trees, and performing for 40,000 people. Like all kibbutz work products at the time, all the actors were members of the kibbutz, and all were ordered to perform as part of their work assignments.
The era of independent Israel kibbutzim attracted interest from sociologists and psychologists who attempted to answer the question: What are the effects of life without private property? What are the effects of life being brought up apart from one's parents?
Three researchers who wrote about psychological life on kibbutzim were Melford E. Spiro (1958) , Bruno Bettelheim (1969) and Michael Baizerman (1963). All concluded that a kibbutz upbringing led to individuals' having greater difficulty in making strong emotional commitments thereafter, such as falling in love or forming a lasting friendship. On the other hand, they appear to find it easier to have a large number of less-involved friendships, and a more active social life.
Bettelheim suggested that the lack of private property was the cause of the lack of emotions in kibbutzniks. He wrote, "nowhere more than in the kibbutz did I realize the degree to which private property, in the deep layers of the mind, relates to private emotions. If one is absent, the other tends to be absent as well".
Other researchers came to a conclusion that children growing up in these tightly knit communities tended to see the other children around them as ersatz siblings and preferred to seek mates outside the community when they reached maturity. Some theorize that living amongst one another on a daily basis virtually from birth on produced an extreme version of the Westermarck effect, which subconsciously diminished teenage kibbutzniks' sexual attraction to one another. Partly as a result of not finding a mate from within the kibbutz, youth often abandon kibbutz life as adults.
It is a subject of debate within the kibbutz movement as to how successful kibbutz education was in developing the talents of gifted children. Several kibbutz-raised children look back and say that the communal system stifled ambition; others say that bright children were nonetheless encouraged. Bruno Bettelheim had predicted that kibbutz education would yield mediocrity: "[kibbutz children] will not be leaders or philosophers, will not achieve anything in science or art." However, it has been noted that although kibbutzim comprise only 5% of the Israeli population, surprisingly large numbers of kibbutzniks become teachers, lawyers, doctors, and political leaders.
Bettelheim's prediction was certainly wrong about the specific children he met at "Kibbutz Atid." In the 1990s a journalist tracked down the children Bettelheim had interviewed back in the 1960s at what was actually Kibbutz Ramat Yohanan. The journalist found that the children were highly accomplished in academia, business, music, and the military. "Bettelheim got it totally wrong."
"The kibbutz is a magnifying glass for Israeli society," says Amia Lieblich, a professor of psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
From their establishment until the 1970s, most kubbutzim had a system whereby the children would sleep in communal children's homes (בית ילדים) instead of in their parents' apartments.
In addition to reports by individual journalists or reporters, there is a large body of empirical research dealing with child rearing in kibbutzim. Such research has been critical of this method of raising children.
In a 1977 study, Fox compared the separation effects experienced by kibbutz children when removed from their mother, compared with removal from their caregiver (called a metapelet in Hebrew). He found that the child showed separation distress in both situations, but when reunited children were significantly more attached to their mothers than to the metapelet. The children protested subsequent separation from their mothers when the metapelet was reintroduced to them. However, kibbutzim children shared high bonding with their parents as compared to those who were sent to boarding schools, because children in a kibbutz spent three hours with their parents every day.
In another study by Scharf, the group brought up in a communal environment within a kibbutz showed less ability in coping with imagined situations of separation than those who were brought up with their families. This has far reaching implications for child attachment adaptability and therefore institutions like kibbutzim. These interesting kibbutz techniques are controversial with or without these studies.
Kibbutzim in the early days tried to be self-sufficient in all agricultural goods, from eggs to dairy to fruits to meats. Through experimentation, kibbutzniks discovered that self-sufficiency was impossible.
Kibbutzniks were also not self-sufficient when it came to capital investment. At the founding of a kibbutz, when it would be opened on land owned by the Jewish National Fund; for expansion, most kibbutzim were dependent on subsidies from charity or the State of Israel. Most of the subsidies took the form of low-interest loans or discounted water. In Israel, when interest rates were routinely over 30% until the 1990s and where water is expensive, these gifts came to a very great amount indeed.
Even prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, kibbutzim had begun to branch out from agriculture into manufacturing. Kibbutz Degania, for instance, set up a factory to fabricate diamond cutting tools; it now grosses several million dollars a year. Kibbutz Hatzerim has a factory for drip irrigation equipment. Hatzerim's business, called Netafim, is a multinational corporation that grosses over $300 million a year. Maagan Michael branched out from making bullets to making plastics and medical tools. Maagan Michael's enterprises earn over $100 million a year. A great wave of kibbutz industrialization came in the 1960s, and today only 15% of kibbutz members work in agriculture.
Kibbutzim industrialized at a time when agricultural jobs were not enough to absorb everyone on the kibbutz. Kibbutzim also industrialized due to pressure from the State of Israel. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s Israel had one of the world's highest trade deficits, the state was desperate to increase exports and kibbutzim were asked to play a role.
The hiring of seasonal workers was always a point of controversy in the kibbutz movement. During harvest time, when hands were needed, the permissibility of hiring external workers was considered. Most kibbutzim compromised with practical exigencies and began the practice of hiring non-kibbutzniks when work was at its peak.
Hiring non-Jews was especially contentious. The founders of the kibbutz movement wanted to redeem the Jewish nation through work, and hiring non-Jews to do hard tasks would not be consistent with that idea. In the 1910s Kibbutz Degania vainly searched for Jewish masons to build their homes. Only when they could not find Jewish masons willing to endure the malaria of their location did they hire Arabs.
Today, kibbutzim have changed dramatically. Only 39% of kibbutz employees are kibbutz members. By the 1970s, kibbutzim were frequently hiring Palestinians. Currently, Thais have replaced Palestinians as the non-Jewish physical work element at kibbutzim. They are omnipresent in various service areas and in factories.
As kibbutzim branched out into manufacturing in the 1960s, they are branching out into tourism and services today. Kibbutz Hatzerim even has a law firm, as well as Nahsholim. Virtually every kibbutz has guest rooms for rent. Some of these rooms are intended for traveling students, but Kiryat Anavim has a luxury hotel. Several kibbutzim, such as Kibbutz Lotan and Kfar Ruppin, operate bird-watching vacations. They say that a European visitor can see more birds in one week in Israel than he or she would in a year at home. It is not lost on the modern kibbutz movement that kibbutzniks today are working in occupations which the first kibbutz generation condemned.
Many kibbutzim aggressively put money into building new enterprises, even playing the stock market. This borrowing spree caught up to the kibbutz movement in the 1980s, forcing kibbutzim to retreat from collective ideas. Today, most kibbutzim are at the economic break-even point, a dozen or so are very wealthy, and several score lose money. Many people who live on kibbutzim have to work outside the kibbutz. They are expected to return a percentage of their earnings to the collective.
Types of kibbutzim
The Kibbutzim have three different movements:
- The Joint movement, AKA the "Kibbutz Movement", which constitutes as a roof-organization of two separate movements and ideologies: the "United Kibbutz Movement," founded in 1979 as a merger of two older movements: the "United Kibbutz" and "Union of the Kvutzot and the Kibbutzim", and "Kibbutz Artzi Hashomer Hatzair"
- "Religious Kibbutz Movement Hapoel HaMizrachi",
- "Agudat Israel Workers".
More than 85% of the total number of kibbutzim belongs to the Kibbutz Movement.
Also, there is a distinction between the kibbutzim - by to Nahal groups which settled in it first, and especially the youth movements to which these Nahal groups belonged to. The main movements are HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed, Hashomer Hatzair and the HaMachanot HaOlim.
Following many changes which the kibbutzim over went through the years and following the appeal made to Israeli High Court of Justice by the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow Coalition in 2001 in which the state was required to redefine the exact definition of a kibbutz in order to define the rightful benefits which the kibbutzim members should be granted by law. The reactivated legal definition was given to the Industry, Trade and Labour Minister of Israel on the December 15, 2005 (תקנות סיווג הקיבוצים). According to this classification there are three types of kibbutzim:
- Kibbutz Shitufi (קיבוץ שיתופי): a kibbutz which still preserves a cooperative system.
- Kibbutz Mitchadesh (קיבוץ מתחדש): a community which has a number of cooperative systems in its intentions (guaranteed minimal income within the community, partnership in the ownership of the production means, partnership in the ownership of the lands, etc.).
- Urban kibbutz (קיבוץ עירוני): a community which exists within an existing settlement (city). Since the 1970s around 100 urban kibbutzim have been founded within existing Israeli cities. They have no enterprises of their own and all of their members work in the non-kibbutz sector. Examples include Tamuz in Jerusalem or Migvan in Sderot.
Some kibbutzim have been involved in legal actions related to their status as kibbutzim. Kibbutz Glil Yam, near Herzliya, petitioned the court regarding privatization. In 1999, 8 members of kibbutz Beit Oren, applied to the High Court of Justice, to order the registrar of cooperative societies, to declassify Beit Oren as a kibbutz and reclassify it as a different kind of cooperative society. The petitioners argued that the Kibbutz had dramatically changed its life style, having implemented differential salaries, closing the communal dining room, and privatizing the educational system and other services. These changes did not fit the legal definition of a kibbutz, and in particular, the principle of equality in consumption. Consequently, the registrar of cooperative societies, who has the authority to register and classify cooperative societies, should change the classification of kibbutz Beit Oren. The kibbutz responded that it still maintained the basic principles of a kibbutz, but the changes made were vital to prevent a financial collapse and to improve the economic situation.
This case resulted in the Government establishing a committee to recommend a new legal definitions that will suit the development of the kibbutz, and to submit an opinion on the allocation of apartments to kibbutz members. The committee submitted a detailed report with two new legal classifications to the settlements known today as kibbutzim. The first classification was named 'communal kibbutz' which was identical to the traditional definition of a kibbutz. The second classification, was called the 'renewing kibbutz', which included developments and changes in lifestyle, provided that the basic principles of mutual guarantee and equality are preserved. In light of the above, the committee recommended that instead of the current legal definition of kibbutz, two different determinations will be created, as follows, a) communal kibbutz: a society for settlement, being a separate settlement, organized on the basis of collective ownership of possession, of self employment, and of equality and cooperation in production, consumption and education, b) renewing kibbutz: a society for settlement, being a separate settlement, organized on the basis of collective partnership in possession, of self employment, and of equality and cooperation in production, consumption and education, that maintains mutual guarantee among its members, and its articles of association includes, some or all of the following:
- Relative wages according to the individual contribution or to seniority allocation of apartments
- Allocation of productive means to its members, excluding land, water
- Productive quotas, provided that the cooperative society will maintain control over the productive means and that the articles of association restrict the negotiability of allocated productive means.
In his history of Palestine under the British Mandate, One Palestine, Complete, "New Historian" Tom Segev wrote of the kibbutz movement:
- The kibbutz was an original social creation, yet always a marginal phenomenon. By the end of the 1920s no more than 4,000 people, children included, lived on some thirty kibbutzim, and they amounted to a mere 2.5% of Palestine’s Jewish population. The most important service the kibbutzim provided to the Jewish national struggle was military, not economic or social. They were guardians of Zionist land, and their patterns of settlement would to a great extent determine the country’s borders. The kibbutzim also had a powerful effect on the Zionist self-image.
As against this characterization, numerous students found kibbutzim played major role in agricultural innovation that advanced the Israeli agriculture to leading the world in some sectors, for instance irrigation. In later era many of their factories led Israeli efforts to gain economic independence by production for export, while their political involvement was of major importance up to 1948. The Kibbutz Meuchad and Kibbutz Artzi manaced Ben-Gurion's dominance of Yishuv politics in the 1940s, but they failed gaining wide public support in Israeli elections ever since 1949 because of reverance of Stalin's dictatorship which most Israelis denounced. Kibbutzim have been criticized for falling short of living up to their own ideals. Most kibbutzim are not self-sufficient and have to employ non-kibbutz members as farm workers (or later factory workers). What was particularly controversial was the employment of Arab labourers while excluding them from the possibility of joining the Kibbutz as full members.
In more recent decades, some kibbutzim have been criticized for "abandoning" socialist principles and turning to capitalist projects in order to make the kibbutz more self-sufficient economically. Kibbutz Shamir owns an optical products company that is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Numerous kibbutzim have moved away from farming and developed parts of their property for commercial and industrial purposes, building shopping malls and factories on kibbutz land that serve and employ non kibbutz members while the kibbutz retains a profit from land rentals or sales. Conversely, kibbutzim which have not engaged in this sort of development have also been criticized for becoming dependent on state subsidies to survive.
Nonetheless, kibbutzniks played a role in yishuv society and then Israeli society, far out of proportion to their population, and many kibbutzniks have served Israel in positions of leadership. The Tower and Stockade system by which 52 settlements from 1938 to 1947 largely decided the borders of Israel in the UN 29 November 1947 decision, was invention of kibbutz member Shlomo Gur. The establishment of the Palmach underground army in 1942 which won the yishuv crucial military struggle against Palestinian Arabs from 30 November 1947 up to 15 May 1948 that made possible the establishment of the Israeli state, was due to efforts by Tabenkin and other Kibbutz Meuchad leaders. One of them, Igaal Alon and Kibbutz Artzi member Shimon Avidan were the two most important commanders who won the War of Independence, and numerous kibbutz members were Cabinet Ministers who largely shaped Israeli politics form 1955 to 1977. Kibbutz born Ehud Barak was Prime Minister from 1999 to 2001, and David Ben Gurion lived most of his life in Tel Aviv, but joined Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev after resigning from Prime Minister in 1963.
Kibbutzim also contributed greatly to the growing Hebrew culture movement. The poet Rachel rhapsodized on the landscape from viewpoints from various Galilee kibbutzim in the 1920s and 1930s. The kibbutz dream of "making the desert bloom" became part of the Israeli dream as well.
Books and movies about Israel, from James Michener's The Source to Leon Uris' Exodus, feature kibbutzniks prominently. Kibbutz life is also featured prominently in the 2006 film Sixty Six. The stereotypical image of the kibbutznik—tanned and wearing a sunhat with a fold-down brim became the stereotypical image of all Israelis.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Peres, Judy. In 50 years, kibbutz movement has undergone many changes. Chicago Tribune, 9 May 1998.
- ↑ Gavron, Daniel. The Kibbutz: Awakening from Utopia Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, 2000, p.19.
- ↑ Baratz, Joseph. A Village by the Jordan: The Story of Degania. Tel Aviv: Ichud Habonim, 1956, p. 52.
- ↑ Rayman, Paula. The Kibbutz Community and Nation Building. Princeton University Press, 1981. p. 12.
- ↑ Gavron, Daniel. The Kibbutz: Awakening from Utopia Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, 2000, p. 45.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Reuven Shapira - Transforming Kibbutz Research, Cleveland: New World Publishing, 2008, Ch. 10.
- ↑ quoted in Rayman, pp.27–28.
- ↑ Bettelheim, Bruno. The Children of the Dream, Simon & Schuster, 2001, p. 15.
- ↑ Reuven Shapira - Academic Capital or Scientific Progress? A critique of studies of kibbutz stratification. Journal of Anthropological Research, 61(2005): 357-380.
- ↑ Reuven Shapira - Communal decline: The vanishing of high-moral leaders and the decay of democratic, high-trust kibbutz cultures. Sociological Inquiry, 71(2001): 13-38.
- ↑ Reuven Shapira - Transforming Kibbutz Research, Cleveland: New World Publishing, 2008, Chaps. 12-17.
- ↑ Segev, Tom. One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate. Metropolitan Books, 2000, p. 255.
- ↑ Horrox, James. A Living Revolution: Anarchism in the Kibbutz Movement, Oakland: AK Press 2009. Ch 3
- ↑ HOW THEY VOTED: See Israel election results by city/sector - Haaretz - Israel News
- ↑ Segev, Tom. One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate. Metropolitan Books, 2000, p. 254.
- ↑ See balanced job complex for related job rotations.
- ↑ Gavron, Daniel. The Kibbutz: Awakening from Utopia, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, 2000, p. 168.
- ↑ Bettelheim, Bruno. The Children of the Dream, Simon & Schuster, 2001, p. 243.
- ↑ Gavron, Daniel. The Kibbutz: Awakening from Utopia, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, 2000, p. 166.
- ↑ Scharf M. "A Natural Experiment in Childrearing Ecologies and Adolescents Attachment and Separation Representations", Child Development, January 2001, vol. 72, no. 1, pp. 236–251(16).
- ↑ The Jewish Advocate, 7 March 2008
- ↑ Segev, Tom. One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate. Metropolitan Books, 2000, p.252.
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 Henry Near. The Kibbutz Movement: A History. Vol. II - London: Littman Library, 1997.
- ↑ The Jewish experience on film Star Tribune. 26 February 2009
- Baratz, Joseph. A Village by the Jordan: The Story of Degania. Tel Aviv: Ichud Habonim, 1956.
- Bettelheim, Bruno. The Children of the Dream. Simon & Schuster, 2001. ISBN 0-7432-1795-0
- Dubnow, S.M. History of the Jews in Russia and Poland. Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society of America, 1920. ISBN 1-886223-11-4
- Fox, N. A. "Attachment of Kibbutz Infants to Mother and Metapelet", Child Development, 1977, 48, 1228-1239.
- Gavron, Daniel. The Kibbutz: Awakening from Utopia. Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, 2000.
- Horrox, James. A Living Revolution: Anarchism in the Kibbutz Movement. Oakland: AK Press, 2009
- LaQueur, Walter. A History of Zionism. New York: MJF Books, 1972. ISBN 0-8052-1149-7
- Mort, Jo-Ann and Brenner, Gary. "Our Hearts Invented a Place: Can Kibbutzim Survive in Today's Israel?" New York and London: Cornell University Press, 2003.
- Scharf M. "A Natural Experiment in Childrearing Ecologies and Adolescents Attachment and Separation Representations", Child Development, January 2001, vol. 72, no. 1, pp. 236–251(16).
- Scher A.; Hershkovitz R.; Harel J. "Maternal Separation Anxiety in Infancy: Precursors and Outcomes", Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 1998, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 103–111(9).
- Segev, Tom. One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate. Metropolitan Books, 2000. ISBN 0-8050-4848-0
- Silver-Brody, Vivienne. Documentors of the Dream: Pioneer Jewish Photographers in the Land of Israel 1890–1933. Magnes Press of the Hebrew University, 1998. ISBN 0-8276-0657-5
- Ulian, Richard. Report on Two Israeli Farm Communes. Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives, Scholar of the House dissertation, 1950. 169 pp.
- Kibbutz Network (in Hebrew}
- Official Website of the Kibbutz Movement
- Site on the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs about Kibbutzim
- Interview with Gary Brenner and Jo-Ann Mort on Kibbutzim in Israeli Society
- Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies
- Kibbutz Program Center
- Kibbutzim of Israel list with contact info
- Israel's Utopian Communes give in to modern stresses, March 1, 2007 edition of The Christian Science Monitor
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