Kibbutz finds note from volunteer, Michele Bachmann

Bachmann, who is running for Republican US presidential nomination, has mentioned more than once her enjoyment on Negev Kibbutz Be'eri.

August 25, 2011 05:10
2 minute read.
US Rep. presidential candidate Michele Bachmann

US Rep. presidential candidate Michele Bachmann 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Jeff Haynes)


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Kibbutz Be’eri is trying to get in touch with one of its best-known former volunteers, US Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), kibbutz administrator Yuval Bar said on Wednesday.

Bachmann, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, has mentioned more than once on the campaign trail how much she enjoyed her summer at Kibbutz Be’eri, in the western Negev.

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During a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2010, she recounted coming to Israel in the summer of 1974 and working on the kibbutz “from 4 a.m. to noon. We were always accompanied by soldiers with machine guns. While we were working, the soldiers were walking around looking for land mines.

“I loved Israel from the moment I first landed,” Bachmann said. “I was delighted to go back as a member of Congress and see all the changes. To see how it has developed – it is nothing short of a miracle, to see a rose bloom in the desert. I have a tremendous love for Israel and great admiration for the Israeli people.”

Bar, the kibbutz’s accountant, published a series of articles in the kibbutz’s daily newsletter and Facebook page this summer, titled “Michele Bachmann – the real story.”

“I’m not sure about soldiers searching for mines,” Bar wrote, “but now we can all see that there is a former volunteer from Be’eri that hopes to be the leader of the free world.”

The kibbutz administrator quoted a newsletter from June 27, 1974, which explained that 23 American tourists arrived at Be’eri for a two-week stay. The group consisted of non-Jewish students aged 17-19 from Minneapolis.

Bar called on kibbutz residents to let him know if they remember the Republican candidate. Artist Ziva Yellin brought Bar a note that Bachmann, then Michele Amble, wrote nearly 40 years ago.

“This is especially for Ziva, who has such a pretty smile,” Bachmann wrote. “Thank you so much for your friendship. I will remember you and think about you always.”

“I don’t remember too many details, because I was only 12 years old then,” Yellin explained. “I know there was a group of girls who would spend time with us in the pool. I remember spreading our towels on the grass next to them for a few afternoons in a row.

“The girls in the group were very pretty, and Michele stood out,” Yellin said, explaining that Bachmann was “very curious and asked many questions.”

After reading Bar’s articles, Yellin found a scrapbook from 1974 with letters from seven volunteers.

“She left a souvenir, proving that she really did volunteer on our kibbutz.” Bar said he does not remember Bachmann or the group, but enjoyed researching and writing about her.

“I have been trying to get in touch with her, but it isn’t easy,” he stated. “I haven’t given up yet, though.”

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