IN 1946, Dov “Dubi” Margalit, three years old at the time, arrived at Kibbutz Kfar Blum in northern Israel, just below the Golan Heights, some three years after the kibbutz was founded.

Life was tough and dangerous. With the kibbutz on the edge of the Hula Swamp, Margalit’s mother, Sonia Koshane, endured several bouts of malaria. The summers were scorching, the winters muddy; there were no roads, no trees, no houses; most land was waterlogged; shacks were the norm. Members begged for quinine and tried to avoid DDT pesticide. Though the malaria was contained by 1948, more residents were leaving the kibbutz than staying – hardly a recipe for success.

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