The Original Kibbutz Dumps Socialism

It would appear that capitalism in Israel is winning.
Analysis:Israeli kibbutz changes character
By JOSHUA BRILLIANT, UPI Israel Correspondent

DEGANIA ALEF, Israel, March 13 (UPI) -- Ninety-seven years ago European-born Jewish idealists arrived at the south western corner of the Sea of Galilee and established a utopian community.

They thought each of them would work according to his ability and that they would share whatever they have. Now they concluded it does not work.

The kibbutz, or communal settlement they established and called Degania Alef, initially looked like a German farm surrounded by thick basalt walls.

Since then the cowshed became a cinema hall, the granary was turned into a library and the chicken-coop became a café. A black and white picture of those founders, in what must have been their best clothes, hangs on the café's wall.

The most significant break with their ideology was taken last month when Degania Alef's members dumped the idea of sharing their income.

Yael Haran, who runs the café, presented her perspective of the change when she said: "If we bring more customers and the café succeeds, we can ask for a raise."

Degania Alef was the first kibbutz in the world but not the first to change. The Kibbutz Movement's Secretary Zeev Schor told United Press International 154 of Israel's 257 secular kibbutzim have taken the same path. Others embarked on smaller changes. Only 72 kibbutzim haven't changed at all, he said.

The founders' idea was Marxist: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." It was also a practical move. The early settlers did not have enough money to buy land and could not compete with local Arabs who were more experienced in agricultural work and were willing to work for less pay.

That is why Zionist institutions bought land, let the settlers work it, and made the issue of profitability irrelevant....

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