Visiting a Kibbutz

What a day! Israel is a beautiful country that is plagued by many tragedies and that clearly leaves a strong impression on the people and the country. If I'm honest, this was the day I had been looking forward to the least. After I had enjoyed the beautiful and sunny Tel Aviv for two days, me and five other travellers drove an hour north. On the eve of the Islamic sacrifice we first visited a Kibbutz (a closed 'Jewish' community) and in the evening we ventured further into Jesr El Zarka. The only (!) Arab community who are legally living in Israel. It seemed a bit of a boring day, but Jesus (From Nazareth, Israel)... What an interesting day this was! (This blog post was divided into two different posts, otherwise it would just be a little too long... So make sure to also read the next blog post!)

The Kibbutz has everything! They even have their own basketball playfield.

The Kibbutz has everything! They even have their own basketball playfield.

The Kibbutz

The van with which we traveled was packed. Not so much with passengers, but with the many bags and suitcases of all the travelling people.
The driver didn’t drive very well and didn’t mind speeding. The last five minutes, when we almost arrived at the Kibbutz, was a near death experience for all of us. To ensure the safety of all the inhabitants of the Kibbutz there were a lot of bumps and barriers built into the road surface. And well… You get the picture!
My neighbor, the Mexican Carmen, could not have said it better: “I feel like a milkshake.”

At first I really didn’t know what a Kibbutz was. But obviously that was about to change.
We were met by our (a-ma-zing!) Guide, Genevieve. She took us to a former Kibbutz member, an American woman whose name seemed to have slipped away (sorry!). SHe explained to us the basics of this closed community. During this informative session, she poured out some of the beers that were brewed by members of the same Kibbutz.

A Kibbutz (Jewish for collection / gathering) is a kind of socialist society. In fact the state of Israel was formed by many different Kibbutzes. Because of progress, the government stopped financing these groups and thus only very few of these societies remained.

Every member of the community has to fulfill a certain task inside the community or otherwise work outside and bring in money. The money they earn will go to the Kibbutz and is redistributed among all people.
Everyone, whatever you do, gets exactly the same wage. People who are a member of the Kibbutz for a longer period of time gain a little bit more, but in fact that amount is negligible.

Of course, the problem with many other of these Kibbutzes is that someone with a high, demanding job was earning exactly the same as people with much less demanding jobs. Obviously, this wasn’t seen as very fair…
As a direct result of this, only two hundred of these communities remain.

The Kibbutz we visited is one of the richest in Israel. And it’s all thanks to the porcelain factory that they have. Furthermore, they also get money from their fishing grounds and some other things, but the porcelain factory earns them loads of money.

This immediately explains how this group can still survive! The CEOs and managers within this group, after all, make as much money as the garbage collectors and cleaners. Now they gain as much as they would elsewhere, so why not stay in the Kibbutz and benefit from all other additional benefits?

Exploring the Kibbutz

After the Frenchman, the two Costa Ricans and I had fired one question after another, we decided to explore the area for ourselves.
It’s a lot more interesting to actually see the Kibbutz instead of just asking questions about it.

I myself had imagined a kind of Amish community, where people lived rather archaic but this was absolutely not right.
I swear: the whole area looked like one big holiday park.

The domain could only be accessed with golf carts, there was a large restaurant where everyone went to eat (most of the houses didn’t even have kitchens), the houses were modern and there was even a small zoo!
The people seemed very happy and definitely didn’t look otherworldly or non-fashionable. Socialism -if in good hands- can actually succeed!
Luckily I was not the only one who was quite surprised by this strange community.

Genevive kept joking that she urgently had to look for a man in this community, because let’s be honest… Who would not want to live here?!
Once you were allowed into the community, it is very difficult to be thrown out. And you can really take it very far… (Genevive told us that some people actually got in jail, and they still weren’t kicked out of the Kibbutz!)

When I heard this, I have to admit that my eyes started changing into dollar signs quite fast. Personally, I think I too would benefit from this system.
As if they didn’t have enough privileges, they also had their own private beach attached to their property.

Genevive chatted on and on and actually we were already too late for our lunch. We hurried to the giant restaurant where we could enjoy the (yummy!) preparations of the Kibbutz members.

The only way to electronically enter the Kibbutz is via golf carts!

The only way to electronically enter the Kibbutz is via golf carts!

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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