'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.

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

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

Theresearch was carried out by Dr. Shlomo Getz, head of the Institute forthe Research of the Kibbutz and the Cooperative Idea at the Universityof Haifa.

The report mentions five kibbutzim which shifted todifferential wages this past year, bringing the percentage of kibbutzimno 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 willshift to differential wages: Shilo, Nir David, Mizra, Lahav, and Gadot.

Kibbutzim are classified by three types ofcompensation members receive. These include collective kibbutzim, whereall members receive equal compensation; mixed-model kibbutzim, whereeach member receives a small salary alongside the collectivecompensation given to all members, with some members receivingseniority benefits; and "renewing" kibbutzim, where each member'sincome is derived entirely from his work and often includes incomeearned outside the kibbutz.

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

Thesurvey finds that by the end of 2009, 188 kibbutzim, 72% of allkibbutzim, had shifted to the renewing kibbutzim system, another ninekibbutzim (3%) were mixed-model, and only 25% retained the originalcollective 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 inaddition to their regular employment. In addition, members of anotherfive 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 ismainly due to a change in ideology, with kibbutzim moving away from theold collectivist ideals towards "individualistic capitalisticideology."

In terms of kibbutz economics, Getz said that his institute hasnot found that there are economic gains experienced by kibbutzim thathave moved to the differential payment method.

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

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