ALL CHANGE... PRIVATISATION
ISRAEL’S first kibbutz (the word means “collective” in Hebrew) was Degania Alef, founded in 1910. There are now 278 of these communal settlements spread across the country, where around 120,000 people live, or about 0.6 per cent of Israel’s population.
Traditionally, kibbutzim members own a share of the wealth produced by the settlement. All salaries are paid into a kitty and in return members receive free services and an allowance based on need – usually determined by the size of their families. After living costs are paid and health and welfare provided, any profits are reinvested into the settlement.
In privatised kibbutzim, members are paid salaries based on their earning ability rather than need – and are allowed to keep them, even if they work outside the kibbutz. Under this scheme, members pay only for services such as electricity and water, and an income tax, which is used to support the least well-off members.