Kibbutzim continue financial recovery

Combined revenues grew by NIS 2b. in 2005 to NIS 25.4b., 9% higher than the previous year, boosted mainly by sales growth.

kibbutz beeri 88 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
kibbutz beeri 88 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The kibbutz sector continued the financial and demographic turnaround seen in recent years, reporting Wednesday that its revenues topped the NIS 25 billion mark in 2005. "We recorded growth in operating profits, in employment, investments, our population and in our members," the Kibbutz Movement said. "The growth is likely to stop the collapse of the physical infrastructure [at the kibbutzim] and the absence of a solution for providing apartments for new members." The flow of new members returned to the kibbutzim as a result of ideological changes implemented after the crisis days of the 80s and 90s when the kibbutzim sought to encourage privatizations and started to link their budget distribution to members' work. The report for 2005, which included data from the movement's 258 member kibbutzim, showed that the kibbutz population stood at 120,000 in that year and that between 2003 and 2005 approximately 500 new members had joined. The report noted, however, that the number of children on kibbutzim declined to make up 26% of the total, compared to the national average where 33% of the Jewish population in Israel are children. By the end of 2005, the changes had been implemented in 180 kibbutzim, the movement said, of which 154 were operating on a "security network model" where the distribution of the budget is different between members, and which gives them the option to acquire assets and apartments. The remaining 26 were on a linked model, which grants additional rewards according to member's efforts and jobs done on the kibbutz. Six of the movement's kibbutzim were economically independent while 72 were still operating on the classic model, the movement said. The different approaches may have created a gap in the wealth of the kibbutzim, as the report noted that 50% of revenues from sales came from 16% of the kibbutzim. Nevertheless, combined revenues grew by NIS 2b. in 2005 to NIS 25.4b., 9% higher than the previous year, boosted mainly by sales growth, the movement said. Expenses grew 4.9% but the movement did not say to what amount and neither did it report its net income for the year.