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The Renewal of the Kibbutz

The Renewal of the Kibbutz: From Reform to Transformation

Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 196
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  • Book Info
    The Renewal of the Kibbutz
    Book Description:

    We think of the kibbutz as a place for communal living and working. Members work, reside, and eat together, and share income "from each according to ability, to each according to need." But in the late 1980s the kibbutzim decided that they needed to change. Reforms-moderate at first-were put in place. Members could work outside of the organization, but wages went to the collective. Apartments could be expanded, but housing remained kibbutz-owned. In 1995, change accelerated. Kibbutzim began to pay salaries based on the market value of a member's work. As a result of such changes, the "renewed" kibbutz emerged. By 2010, 75 percent of Israel's 248 non-religious kibbutzim fit into this new category.This book explores the waves of reforms since 1990. Looking through the lens of organizational theories that predict how open or closed a group will be to change, the authors find that less successful kibbutzim were most receptive to reform, and reforms then spread through imitation from the economically weaker kibbutzim to the strong.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-6077-9
    Subjects: Religion, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. iii-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-ix)
    (pp. xi-xiii)
  5. INTRODUCTION: Perspectives on Change in the Kibbutzim
    (pp. 1-11)

    Since soon after their first appearance in Jewish Palestine in 1910, the collective rural settlements that later came to be known as “kibbutzim” have attracted international interest. At first, observers noted their unusually democratic and communal structures and practices. Although the land that each kibbutz was located on was the property of the Jewish National Fund, kibbutz members owned and operated other assets in common, working together in kibbutz-owned economic ventures, eating their meals in central dining halls, and living in kibbutz-owned housing. For Martin Buber (1958), common ownership of the means of both production and consumption made a kibbutz...

  6. 1 Development of the Kibbutzim
    (pp. 12-37)

    In this chapter we describe the kibbutzim as they were at the opening of the period 1990 through 2010, and review how they came to assume that form. We divide relevant information about the nature and history of the kibbutzim into two parts. The first part relates the unique circumstances that gave birth to the kibbutzim, and that made them one of the most important forms of land settlement in Jewish Palestine in the first half of the twentieth century. The second part identifies changes that occurred in the kibbutzim between 1950 and 1985, changes that may serve as long-term...

  7. 2 From Crisis to Reform, 1985–2001
    (pp. 39-68)

    By the 1980s, Israel’s kibbutzim differed in many ways from what they had been in the pre-state period. Most kibbutz members now worked outside of agriculture, in increasingly diverse tasks. They now slept in family-based households. The trees and plants growing on many kibbutzim were now mature and well-tended, giving their grounds a park-like atmosphere. Since the 1970s, visitors were reporting that the overall look of the kibbutzim was “becoming bourgeois” (Near 1997, 249).

    Despite these outward signs of affluence and embourgeoisement, the kibbutzim in the 1980s still retained most of the communal and democratic structural features and practices for...

  8. 3 Consideration and Adoption of Innovations, 1990–2001
    (pp. 69-81)

    In chapter 2 we documented the spread of innovations through the population of kibbutzim. Although some innovations enjoyed wide acceptance, others were introduced in only small numbers of kibbutzim. In this chapter, we shift from the question of which changes were accepted, to the question of how individual kibbutzim made and carried out decisions to adopt them.

    We first demonstrate that kibbutzim did not make these decisions quickly or easily. Most proposed reforms went through lengthy periods of discussion and preparation before they were put into use. Many decisions were hotly contested, and kibbutzim often changed their plans for innovations...

  9. 4 Transformation of the Kibbutzim, 1995–2011
    (pp. 82-95)

    As we have shown in chapters 2 and 3, most kibbutzim made only modest reforms in the 1990s, and made even those changes with great hesitation. The great majority of kibbutzim introduced changes that did not violate traditional definitions of the kibbutzim codified in national laws and kibbutz bylaws, but avoided changes that explicitly contradicted these guidelines. The caution and indecisiveness with which the kibbutzim approached reform in this period were attributable not only to the difficulty of building lasting coalitions in favor of each change on individual kibbutzim, but also to the mixed signals that the kibbutzim received, during...

  10. 5 From Transformation to Renewal
    (pp. 96-124)

    By the early years of the new century, kibbutzim that paid differential salaries to members were becoming more numerous than kibbutzim that continued to base household budgets on need. The kibbutzim that made this change had clearly been greatly transformed by it, but what they had transformed themselves into was not yet clear.

    In chapter 5, we begin with the response of the kibbutz movement and the Israeli government to the growing popularity of the safety-net budget in the years after 2002. That discussion led by 2005 to an official acknowledgment that kibbutzim paying differential salaries were still kibbutzim, but...

    (pp. 125-166)
    (pp. 167-173)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 175-179)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 180-181)