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Ten facts about kibbutzim
March 4th, 2009
1. Kibbutz is a community settlement characterized by economic cooperation. The classical kibbutz slogan used to be: “Each one gives according to his ability; each one receives according to his needs.”
2. The first kibbutz — Dgania, on the shores of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) — was founded in 1909. The name referred to the grains (“dganim”) that they grow.
3. The kibbutz was built to provide economic security and safety from Arab attacks on Jewish farmers and was developed with a commitment to mutual responsibility.
4. In 1948, 4.5 percent of the Israel’s Jews lived in kibbutzim. Many kibbutzim were established on what would become Israel’s borders.
5. At the end of the 1980s, many kibbutzim faced social and economic crises, which resulted in dramatic changes to kibbutz life.
6. In most modern kibbutzim, children live with their parents rather than in communal children’s houses; members receive graded stipends; and members are required to pay for meals and other kibbutz services.
7. Kibbutzim are rural settlements. The main mode of transportation is the bicycle.
8. The main source of income on kibbutzim is industry. Kibbutzim produce 8.4 percent of the country’s industry. Additional income comes from agriculture and tourism.
9. Most of today’s 267 kibbutzim are secular. Only 18 are Orthodox. About 110,000 people live in kibbutzim today, comprising almost 1.8 percent of the Israeli population.
10. More than 80 percent of boys from kibbutzim volunteer for special combat units. About 50 percent of the girls volunteer for combat units. Among kibbutz daughters are the Israeli Air Force’s first woman combat pilot; one of the air force’s only two female navigators; and the first female naval officer.