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The kibbutz is one of the most unique and fascinating types of settlements in the whole world. As a form of living that can only be found in Israel, the Kibbutz is one of the most interesting parts of Israeli culture and a major part of the history of Israel. Here is our comprehensive Kibbutz guide, for all of the interesting things about this unique form of living, and the best ways to experience it during your visit to Israel.

Kibbutz definition

A kibbutz (plural: kibbutzim) is a form of cooperative settlement unique to Zionism, and to the State of Israel, based on Zionism’s aspiration for renewed settlement in the Land of Israel and on socialist values ​​- equality between all, alongside economic and ideological cooperation. Every kibbutz is a small settlement with several hundred residents, and its livelihood comes from agriculture and industry. Each Kibbutz used to have an independent system, in which all residents would work, live and make decisions together.


The origins of the idea of ​​equality in the Kibbutz, are rooted in the ideals of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and socialist criticism. In fact, the kibbutz was an attempt to fulfill Karl Marx’s vision of the last stage of society’s development here and now, and show the world how this vision can be practically fulfilled.

Many members of the first kibbutzim hoped to be more than just simple farmers in the Land of Israel. They even hoped for more than establishing a national home for the Jewish people: they aspired to establish a new and just society where everyone would be equal and free from exploitation. This idea. in combination with the idea of Zionism, is what led Jewish groups to unite, own the property jointly and live together in this way.

Education in the Kibbutz

Since their establishment and until the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, it was customary in most kibbutzim to have shared accommodation for all of the Kibbutz’s children. In this form of education, all of the kids would be educated by nannies and teachers, and visit their parents only for a dedicated time in the afternoon. This idea was initiated by the women, in order to enable them to work on the farm equally alongside the men. This education system had stopped in the 80s when more and more parents insisted to raise their kids at home.

The History of the Kibbutz

The beginning

The first Kibbutz was Deganya Aleph, which was founded in 1909, as the members of the Kibbutz wanted to create a society based only on agricultural work, without private property, and with full equality and participation in all areas of life. The principle of equality states that everyone contributes to the group according to their ability, but receives according to their needs.

After the First World War, there was a great upsurge in agriculture and settlement in Israel. That’s when the idea of ​​the Kibbutz was developed, and turned into a group that would be based not only on agriculture but on diverse production, including crafts and industry, and would be able to absorb many Jewish immigrants and refugees, mostly from Europe. Following the third aliyah (1919-1923) the first two large Kibbutzim were established – Ein Harod and Tel Yosef, both in the Jezreel Valley, and were officially given the name “kibbutz”. In the 1930s and 1940s, the kibbutz was the main form of Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel.

Kibbutz volunteers

In the 1960s, as the unique Kibbutz way of life had caught the attention of the world, many young people from Western countries who were interested in the ideology and life in the kibbutz, have come to Israel and asked to volunteer there. At the time, about 10,000 volunteers from all over the world came to a kibbutz every year, most of them non-Jews. Some of the young volunteers have grown to become very famous and influential people, including comedian Jerry Seinfeld, singer Bryan Adams, Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, American politician Bernie Sanders, Actor Sasha Baron Cohen, and many more, who each spent at least a few months volunteering in a Kibbutz.

The Kibbutz changes from the 80s to today

The combination of the economic crisis that Israel experienced in the 80s and the country’s overall transition from socialism to capitalism has hit the kibbutz hard. It had caused many of the new, young generations of the Kibbutz to leave for the bigger cities, and led to a re-examination of all of the values ​​and social principles of the Kibbutz. Those events have led many kibbutzim to individually initiate changes in the kibbutz way of life.

The main changes were in the area of ​​consumption: each member of the kibbutz was given the opportunity to increase their control over their personal budget. In addition, many kibbutzim gave up the principle of equality and decided to pay rewards and incentives that created economic disparities between kibbutz members.

The principle of self-employment was also loosened, resulting in a considerable increase in external workers in the various branches of the kibbutz. A decrease in the population of members of the kibbutz resulted in some of the kibbutzim building new residential neighborhoods for people who are not members of the kibbutz, making several of the Kibbutzim lose their uniqueness and seclusion. The rural-agricultural nature of the kibbutzim has also faded, especially in kibbutzim that are close to large urban centers.

Today, most Kibbutzim are not operating in the same manner as in the past. While most of them still lead a communal life, many Kibbutz members work outside the Kibbutz and are financially independent of the town itself.

Best Kibbutzim to visit

Visiting a Kibbutz is one of the best experiences you can have in Israel, as it will give you a glimpse into the fascinating way of life in those unique towns. Here are the most recommended Kibbutzim to visit in Israel.

Merom Golan

Merom Golan is located in one of the most unique locations in Israel, on the mouth of the Bental volcano at an altitude of 1,171 meters/3,842 feet above sea level. Here you can enjoy a European-like landscape and atmosphere throughout the year. In winter, Merom Golan is beautifully covered with snow, The summers are cool and pleasant, in the spring everything blooms and the cherry orchards are full of fruit, and in the fall the kibbutz’s deciduous tree orchards are covered with foliage colors. The kibbutz’s horse farm and the cattle herds on site, as well as the vineyards and orchards surrounding the well-kept kibbutz, all make it an even more wonderful visit.

Ein Gedi

Ein Gedi, located on the northern shore of the Dead Sea, is one of the most beautiful kibbutzim in Israel. The surrounding landscape, which includes the Dead Sea, the cliffs of the Judean Desert, and the desert views of Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, makes it a beautiful town to visit.

But most of all, Ein Gedi owes its beauty to the members of the kibbutz who cultivated a beautiful botanical garden in it, a garden which has become one of the most unique in the world. The entire kibbutz yard complex is actually a botanical garden, with 900 plant species from all over the world, including palms, tropical plants, desert plants, and baobab trees.
In addition to the botanical garden, Ein Gedi has several points of attraction, such as artist workshops, great hikes all around, and an ecological park.

Sde Boker

One of the most beautiful and fascinating Kibbutzim, which was founded in the heart of the desert, and developed largely thanks to Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, who moved to Sde Boker in the last few decades of his life. Here, you can find Ben Gurion Hut, and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the desert, as Sde Boker is surrounded by great hiking trails.


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