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The new generation
The first kibbutz, Degania Aleph, was founded in 1910 in the Holy Land near the Sea of Galilea in a mosquitoes-infested swamp by ten young Ukrainians Jews wishing to change their way of living, based on a collectivist model of agriculture in which "everything belongs to the group and individuals owns nothing." Over the years, other kibbutz emerged and today there are 273 in which everything is taken care for by me their members (housing, nursery, school, food, retirement...) until their death.
However, this ideal model is not viable anymore for most of them and they had to adapt by privatizing and renting apartments to non-members. Since the young generation didn’t want to stay in kibbutzim and preferred to live and work outside they had to find a way to attract new people by opening apartments and houses for rent. In that new system the members and non-members can live in a kibbutz without giving their salaries to the community and simply pay a rent and taxes for the services.
There remains a number of kibbutzim, which have maintained the traditional model in which each member earns the same salary, whether he is a gardener or a corporate CEO: for example $1,200 per month in kibbutz Yizreel. This kibbutz was on the verge of bankruptcy in the 1980s, and thanks to Maytronics, their world leading pool cleaner robots’ company, they generate 90% of the kibbutz’ resources and are now among the wealthiest kibbutzim in Israel.
With the years, the original model has adapted: urban or rural kibbutzim, collectivist or privatized, permaculture or traditional agriculture, religious or secular... a whole range of possibilities including an unusual kibbutz in Dimona, the “Black Hebrews”, a community that came from Chicago in the 1970s. It’s a kingdom of 1,800 people with a King (who passed away in 2014), Princes, Ministers and all their members are vegans, polygamous (until 2006), musicians and very athletic.
Publication by GEO France (August 2016) 14 pages.
- Interview GEO - video