Most of the current immigrants – as the immigrants call them in Israel – come either to close relatives who help them settle in a new place, or go through an ulpan-kibbutz (school and home): they work in a kibbutz and at the same time study Hebrew. This is the so-called First Home Home program. Those kibbutzis who participate in the program receive some benefits and material assistance from the state – the state pays for the temporary residence of new emigrants.
All returnees arriving in Israel are entitled to the so-called “absorption basket”. Absorption is a takeover, but in Israel, newcomers are “absorbed” very humanely: in this basket there are various kinds of cash benefits, tax benefits, loans for renting and buying apartments, paid education, legal advice and retraining courses. Baskets for those arriving at the kibbutz are the most “weighty”.
The modern kibbutz looks like a boarding house, and internally – like a commune. If the morals of the commune are not familiar to you, imagine the life of a pioneer camp. Cowsheds and chicken coops, craft workshops or small factories, so as not to “spoil the picture,” are away from housing. In sight are neat houses, in English perfect lawns, flowers and date palms. The houses do not resemble the shacks in which the first settlers huddled. Inside, everything looks like a suite in a decent hotel. Spacious apartments with a “state”, but very good decor, video and audio equipment, air conditioning, well-equipped kitchen. Water and electricity are free. There are no problems with kindergarten and school, medical services and meals: each kibbutz must have its own clinic, canteen, school, kindergarten, cinema, pool, laundry, cheap shops, free internet, computers for shared use, free transport for personal needs . In some kibbutzim, children from 12 years old can optionally live separately from their parents in a children’s hostel.
At 16, young people receive housing separate from their parents, and after school for a year they go to travel abroad. In the clubs on weekends dances are arranged with free, again, refreshments. Holidays are celebrated by the whole world: with a common table, with concerts of kibbutznik artists. Important issues for life are resolved at general meetings – everyone meets often and eagerly. In short, the kibbutz is a big family. And it’s good if the family is friendly.
It is difficult here only for individualists and introverts, who have the impression of constant looking. It seems to them that kibbutzniks poke their nose everywhere. But the most difficult thing for an ordinary person is to put up with the fact that everything you earn goes to the general cashier, that is, no matter how hard you work, your welfare will not be different from the life benefits of a loafing neighbor who takes sick leave four times a week.
Most people work within the kibbutz. Those who have found jobs in the city – for example, teachers, researchers – still give their salaries to the general cashier. The Israeli kibbutz embodied the quasicommunist principle: from each according to his ability and to everyone – not even according to his needs, but simply equally, regardless of earnings. In addition to the main work, everyone should devote some time to his community, having worked, for example, in the dining room or laundry room.
Third generation syndrome
Many people like this life. But in recent decades, a problem has arisen: young people are leaving the kibbutzim, as well as around the world, from villages. In small, not rich kibbutzim, mostly elderly people remain who, by ideological or everyday habit, live in a community comfortably. However, there is no one to work – and about 40% of such kibbutzim exist on credit.
The first generation of kibbutzniks was enthusiasts, ready for any hardship for the sake of an idea. The second generation grew up on the ideology of the commune, perceiving it as a given. But the third collectivist scheme is already rejecting.
The old traditions of “common” life, considered the basis of the kibbutz device, are gradually dying. However, it is not surprising that some communal innovations did not take root. What was the cost of just the idea of co-raising children in orphanages. Immediately after the birth of a child, they were taken to an orphanage. Parent joys were limited to the ability to put the baby to sleep. And in the order of priority: if there are ten children in the group, then it is allowed to lull your child once every ten days.