Israel’s history and culture are some of its greatest treasures. When you visit Israel, tour some of the most magnificent places to experience one of the best-kept secrets of Israel. Consider a private tour guide who can give you a taste of the authentic kibbutzim in Israel.
What is a kibbutz?
A kibbutz is a type of settlement found only in Israel. It is a traditional agrarian communal society. Deganya Aleph, was the first kibbutz. It was established in 1910. Today, there are around 270 kibbutzim in the country. Since their roots are agricultural, they have substantially diversified, and many are now privately owned. Visiting a kibbutz will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will give you an insight into a unique Israeli way of life.
What is the history of the kibbutz in Israel?
The word “kibbutz” translates to ‘gathering’. Although, once they were known as ‘kvutzot,’ which means “a group”. The first kibbutz was Kibbutz Degania. It was located immediately south of the Sea of Galilee. Young Jews who had previously labored to clean neighboring swampland for farming and human settlement established the community. Later, the Jewish National Fund purchased the land.
They worked hard to make the land productive. These forefathers established a community that had agriculture as its foundation. Following the creation of Degania, several new kibbutzim were established. Many live on the coast of the Sea of Galilee and the Jezreel Valley. Many additional kibbutzim arose throughout the pre-state period and following the Declaration of Independence. Pioneering groups traveled throughout the country and spread them around Israel.
How do kibbutzim work in Israel?
Kibbutzim were exclusively agricultural communities at first. Residents of the communes shared everything and worked as a community rather than being commercially driven. The community faced harsh circumstances in the beginning. They had to build everything from scratch, and life was difficult. The members all worked in the community, either in agriculture or in the kitchen, kindergarten, or children’s homes. Members lived in humble quarters, while children lived in children’s homes with their classmates, only seeing their parents for a few hours each day. All meals were served in the dining hall. But what helped them overcome their hardships was a strong sense of camaraderie.
The kibbutz had an undeniable impact on the foundation of Israel. Only 4% of Israelis lived in kibbutzim in the 1960s. Kibbutzniks now account for 15% of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. After retiring, Israel’s first Prime Minister relocated to Kibbutz Sde Boker. David Ben Gurion did this to show his appreciation for the pioneers’ efforts to create the Negev Desert.
Where are the kibbutzim today?
Privatization of kibbutzim has been a developing trend since the 1970s and 1980s. This has coincided with Israel’s economic boom. It positioned its members as contributors to the larger economy. Many of the kibbutzim in Israel are now privatized. But they have succeeded in retaining their community foundations. There are still areas where there is great community collaboration and activity.
Many have moved far away from their agricultural beginnings over the years, primarily into industries. Kibbutzim companies provide around 10% of the country’s agricultural production, and many of these industrial endeavors have resulted in tremendous success. The diamond-cutting factory in Kibbutz Degania currently earns several million dollars every year. Netafim, based in Kibbutz Hatzerim, was a global pioneer in drip irrigation equipment. They have a flagship factory in the kibbutz as well as other locations around the world.
Visit the best kibbutzim in Israel!
With such an enchanting history, it is no surprise that people have so much interest in the kibbutz lifestyle in Israel. Fortunately, many of the kibbutzim diversified into tourism. So people can taste what their authentic day-to-day life looks like. Most kibbutzim allow visitors to drive through or stay in their motels. You should consider taking a tour so rare, you will boast about it all your life. This becomes easier when you have a local private tour guide fluent in the language to make things easier for you. He or she can help you plan your trip to the Israeli kibbutz.
Some private tours that we recommend are:
- Wine Country (surrounding Kibbutz life)
- Sde Boker
- Degania – the first Kibbutz.
- Gesher – with the first hydroelectric power plant in Israel.
- Rosh Hanikra
These kibbutzim in Israel provide excellent opportunities to learn more about this unique and collaborative society.