At the end of the 19th — beginning of the 20th century, the first waves of Aliyah poured into the Land of Israel, then still the Palestinian province of the Ottoman Empire. Most of the arrivals were deeply religious Jews from the Russian Empire, refugees from the territories of modern Ukraine, Belarus and Poland.
Young people were inspired both by the idea of the national revival of the Jewish people in their historical homeland and by the socialist, communist ideas.
The first kibbutz — Degania — was founded namely by them in 1909. It is difficult to describe the model of the kibbutzim existence in a few words. This is probably how the ideal Soviet collective farms should have looked like: a highly patriotic agricultural commune, fully complying with the principles of a fair division of labor, where there is no private property, but everyone works a lot and conscientiously.
The main ideologue of the kibbutz movement was Joseph Baratz, a repatriate from the Kherson Governorate, who later became one of the leaders of the socialist trend in Zionism.
It was an extensive network of kibbutzim that quickly made it possible to create a separate class of Jewish farmers who were able to provide the population with the necessary agricultural products.
There are 270 kibbutzim in Israel now, with about 150 thousand people living in them, which is less than two percent of the country’s population. By now, up to 40% of the agricultural products in Israel are produced in kibbutzim. They have long become one of the symbols of the state.
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