A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. First established in 1909, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism. In recent decades, some kibbutzim have been privatized and changes have been made in the communal lifestyle. A member of a kibbutz is called a kibbutznik.
Most volunteers typically come to Israel for a short period of two to three months under a volunteer visa and participate. Volunteers receive food and board, and sometimes pocket money.
Hints and Tips
- Research carefully. While some offer nothing but slave labor, other offer cultural outings, events, language training and pocket money.
- Pick one those activities engage you. It might be a fruit plantations, a dairy farm or a small winery.
- While there are over 254 kibbutzim, about 20 are in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Golan Heights. Think carefully before you support the occupation by going to one of these kibbutzim.
- Some of the kibbutzim are privatized and profit seeking. Others are communal.
- Often, you must stay at a Kibbutzim for a MINIMUM of months, before they accept you. There is usually a maximum of six months. Usually, they will stipulate whether age limits, and whether you speak a reasonable level of English.