The Jewish Chronicle - - Features -

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.

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