Kibbutzniks' outlook improving

New survey shows that 41% of kibbutz members feel secure about the future of their kibbutz.

Kibbutz members are feeling more optimistic in 2005 about their personal circumstances and the situation of their kibbutz, according to a new survey which shows that 41 percent of kibbutz members feel secure about the future of their kibbutz. The survey, conducted and analyzed by Professor Michal Palgi and his colleagues at the University of Haifa's Kibbutz Research Institute, indicates that kibbutz members in different age groups are all more optimistic about the work ethic, the economic situation, and the absorption of new members on their kibbutz than they were in the previous two years. Two-thirds of the 818 kibbutz members questioned said that they were satisfied with the social situation on the kibbutz. Although half of those surveyed said they were satisfied with their personal economic situation, less than half felt the same way about their economic security in the future. Participants in the survey included members of different types of kibbutzim, including ones that still operate as collec tive organizations and others that have undergone some degree of privatization. The survey detected a difference between members of economically strong and weak kibbutzim in terms of their responses. Those from weaker kibbutzim were less satisfied wi t h the process of transformation their kibbutz had undergone in terms of their ability to influence these processes, their social security and health care, and their personal quality of life. Of those surveyed, 15% earned minimum wages of up to NIS 3,5 00 per month while 31% earned up to NIS 5,500, 29% earned up to NIS 9,000, and 25% earned over NIS 9,000. Some 32% of those surveyed supported total privatization of their kibbutz, including health and education services. Close to half of those surveyed said they did not feel any differently following the changes that had taken place on their kibbutz in recent years. Thirty-five percent said they felt they had benefited from the changes, while 21% said they had personally suffered because them.