Poll: Kibbutzim have made significant contributions

Despite recent decline, most Israelis believe kibbutzm helped Zionism.

April 28, 2010 10:09
1 minute read.
Golda Meir working in Kibbutz Merhavia in the 1920

Golda Kibbutz 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

A majority of Israelis believe the Kibbutz Movement has made a contribution to the state, according to a poll published on the eve of a conference touting 100 years of the kibbutz.

Sixty-nine percent of the population believes the Kibbutz Movement has contributed to Zionism and the State of Israel, shows the study sponsored by Kinneret College. The Geocartography Knowledge Group conducted the survey of 500 adult Israelis for the two-day conference, “One Hundred Years of Kibbutz,” which begins today at Kinneret College, which is sponsoring the event in cooperation with the Yad Yitzhak Ben Zvi Research Institute.

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The survey raised two central questions: In what way did the Kibbutz Movement contribute to Zionism and the State of Israel, and how could kibbutzim contribute more to society?

Even those who didn’t believe kibbutzim contributed to Zionism and the building of the state said they contributed in other ways, such as giving equal treatment to all ethnicities and immigrants, providing relief by accepting people into the kibbutz, openness toward religious issues. Other benefits included not discriminating on the basis of ethnicity, openness toward state-related matters and providing work to people from outside the kibbutz.

“The survey’s main finding is that despite a relative decline in the presence of the kibbutzim in Israel in recent decades and their economic and social upheavals, the widespread opinion among Israelis is that the kibbutzim’s contributions are significant to very significant,” said conference organizer and Kinneret College professor Dr. Giora Goodman.

“However, the findings confirm the assumption that a portion of the public blames the kibbutzim for historic discrimination against descendents of immigrants from Oriental countries and to a lesser extent against the religious,” she said.

The findings show that the rate of respondents who believe that kibbutzim had a significant influence on the Zionist movement increases with education level, income level and detachment from religion.

Among respondents who define themselves as secular, 77.6 percent believe that the contributions of the kibbutzim were significant, compared to 52.3% of respondents who define themselves as Orthodox. Seventy-eight percent of respondents earning more than NIS 10,000 monthly believed kibbutzim contributed significantly, compared to 56% of respondents earning less than NIS 7,000.

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