'Only 25% of kibbutzim still adhere to collective model'

Under original model, each member contributed according to their ability and was compensated according to their needs.

January 25, 2010 06:10
2 minute read.
kibbutz beeri 298

kibbutz beeri 298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])


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The face of kibbutzim in Israel continues to change, as more and more kibbutzim have shifted away from the collective model and are paying their members differential wages, according to a survey released earlier this month.

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The research was carried out by Dr. Shlomo Getz, head of the Institute for the Research of the Kibbutz and the Cooperative Idea at the University of Haifa.

The report mentions five kibbutzim which shifted to differential wages this past year, bringing the percentage of kibbutzim no longer classified as collective to 72%.

In the report, Getz said he believes it is "highly probable" that from now until the end of 2012, at least five more kibbutzim will shift to differential wages: Shilo, Nir David, Mizra, Lahav, and Gadot.

Kibbutzim are classified by three types of compensation members receive. These include collective kibbutzim, where all members receive equal compensation; mixed-model kibbutzim, where each member receives a small salary alongside the collective compensation given to all members, with some members receiving seniority benefits; and "renewing" kibbutzim, where each member's income is derived entirely from his work and often includes income earned outside the kibbutz.

Surveys conducted by the institute since 1996 found that four kibbutzim had become renewing kibbutzim by 1996, and another six had shifted to the mixed-model system. By 2002, collective kibbutzim were only 50% of the total and by 2004 they were in the minority.


The survey finds that by the end of 2009, 188 kibbutzim, 72% of all kibbutzim, had shifted to the renewing kibbutzim system, another nine kibbutzim (3%) were mixed-model, and only 25% retained the original collective model.

Under the original collective model, each member worked or contributed to the kibbutz according to their ability and was compensated according to their personal needs.

The survey also found that 18 collective kibbutzim, 28% of them, use additional forms of payment to compensate members for work done in addition to their regular employment. In addition, members of another five collective kibbutzim have partial ownership of some property, including, for many, their own houses.

Getz also found that half of the collective kibbutzim charge members to eat in the kibbutz dining room.

Getz told The Jerusalem Post Sunday that the shift is mainly due to a change in ideology, with kibbutzim moving away from the old collectivist ideals towards "individualistic capitalistic ideology."

In terms of kibbutz economics, Getz said that his institute has not found that there are economic gains experienced by kibbutzim that have moved to the differential payment method.

"From our data, the change doesn't help in regard to economics or demographics, and it doesn't help keep members from leaving the kibbutzim", Getz said.

Getz added that "regardless, the kibbutz members are for this change in their way of life and that's why it will continue. For some it works out well, but not for all."

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