You may have either heard of or visited a kibbutz in the past. A significant amount of Israel’s Founding Fathers have either lived on a kibbutz or even created some of them. In this article, we will introduce you to this unique lifestyle and tell you more about four kibbutzim that is a must-visit when in Israel.
Did you know which one was the first kibbutz? Do you maybe know what is the main production area of kibbutzim nowadays? Are we still talking about pure agriculture when we talk about Israeli kibbutzim? Let yourself be surprised because in this article we will show you four extraordinary kibbutzim.
Are you ready to learn more about what a kibbutz is and which one do we recommend you to visit? Be prepared to travel around Israel without leaving your seat!
What is a kibbutz?
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture, and it had socialist ideals and values. In some of the oldest kibbutzim, kids lived together in a “house for children”, while parents were given small households to live in. The first kibbutz ever was established in 1909 and they named it Degania.
David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, lived on one of the most important kibbutzim in Israel: Sde Boker. This kibbutz was founded in 1952 and a place you have to visit. Even if Sde Boker didn’t make it to the final ranking of this article, it is a must-go place in Israel, especially if you admire the work and legacy of Ben-Gurion.
Nowadays, farming and traditional agriculture have been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and even well-known high-tech enterprises.
Breathtaking kibbutzim you have to visit!
Today, Israel has around 300 kibbutzim that have diversified greatly since many of them have been privatized. Regardless of their status, the kibbutz lifestyle offers a unique insight into Israeli society, and all of them are breathtaking places to visit.
That being said, we’ve selected four fascinating kibbutzim you definitely should visit on your next trip to Israel. These places have a unique vibe, are very different when compared to each other. Most of all, these kibbutzim will show you different and insightful sides of Israeli society and culture.
When visiting Degania, for example, you’ll find people who think and act totally different from those who live in Hanaton. The same thing happens when comparing Ein Gedi to Ketura, and so on. Regardless of their differences, these places are beautiful and unique, and in this opportunity we want you to meet them.
1. Degania Alef
Degania Alef is the oldest kibbutz in Israel. It was established in 1909 by ten men and ten women on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
From this settlement, the rules for kibbutz living were established. Back then, it was considered only a fascinating social experiment in communal living. This “experiment” has lasted more than a century and kibbutzim, even if privatized, still exist and continue to appear in Israel.
According to Tourists Guides from Israel, “throughout the course of the last 100 years, Kibbutz Degania has grown and become more modern but it still retains the quaint feel that makes it so special. The kibbutz now offers a chance to peer back in time to see what things were like so long ago”.
A.D. Gordon, an important personality in Israel’s history, lived on this fantastic kibbutz.
It was founded in 1945, but during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, a battalion-size force of the Arab Legion, supported by irregulars and a dozen of armored cars, invaded, fired upon, and attacked this gorgeous kibbutz. The problems didn’t stop there and the kibbutz went through many difficulties until idealism came to save it, and rebuild it. Located very close to the city of Modi’in, it was populated again in the 1970s by a group of idealistic people coming from North America.
Besides being a gorgeous venue with some outstanding landscapes, it also has one of the very few regulated baseball fields in Israel, so if you are the kind of person who admires the legacy of Babe Ruth, this kibbutz might be your place.
*Gezer means carrot. But if you want to learn how to say the names of different vegetables in Hebrew we recommend you read this informative article we published not so long ago.
Hannaton is one of the kibbutzim that considered itself “non-secular”, and it is associated with the Conservative Movement in Israel.
According to the website of the Masorti (Conservative) movement in Israel, Hannaton was founded in 1983 as a Masorti kibbutz, Kibbutz Hannaton in the Lower Galilee, is presently undergoing a move to become a “kibbutz mitchadesh” (a revitalized kibbutz).
It maintains some of the cooperative and social elements of the original kibbutz system while implementing some fundamental changes. Some of these changes include a differential salary system and even homeownership. In a traditional kibbutzim everything belongs to the community and no one owns anything.
This beautiful kibbutz with gorgeous spaces is committed to communal responsibility, social awareness, environmental conscientiousness and egalitarian spiritual consciousness. If you want to spend a few days disconnecting in order to reconnect with yourself, Hannaton is the place you were looking for.
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4. Ein Gedi
Ein Gedi is a lovely kibbutz located right by the Dead Sea, on the border of the Judean Desert, by the historical spot of Ein Gedi. This amazing place was founded in 1953 and it was named after the “Biblical” Ein Gedi.
It is one of the most attractive places for nature lovers in Israel, attracting more than one million visitors every year. Besides being a magical place that helps everyone connect with nature on a totally different level, Ein Gedi was one of the first kibbutzim to diversify their everyday activities, moving away from purely agricultural activities. Ein Gedi is still primarily involved with agriculture and tourism of the surrounding area and neighboring antiquities. That being said, it was in 1997 when the kibbutz opened a facility to bottle the water of the beautiful Ein Gedi spring. Their product is known as “Ein Gedi Mineral Water”, and it is one of the favorite water brands in Israel.
If you want to spend some quality time with nature and drink great water, visit Ein Gedi. You can even go float in the Dead Sea right after you experience its lovely landscapes.
Learn Hebrew today, go volunteer in a kibbutz tomorrow!
Have you ever dreamed about going to volunteer on a kibbutz? Can you imagine yourself walking around a green oasis, in the middle of the desert, to milk some friendly cows before sunrise? Maybe you picture yourself looking at the beautiful night skyline kibbutzim like Ketura or Yotvata can offer?
Well, to do any of the above, you have to learn some Hebrew. In the live and online courses offered by Rosen School of Hebrew, you’ll be speaking Hebrew very, very soon. Let yourself be amazed by the classes imparted by the best-ever Hebrew teachers, and have a blast with classmates who, just like you, want to master this ancient/modern language while having fun.
All of that is possible. Hebrew is just around the corner. What are you waiting for?