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The Greying of the Kibbutz

Age distribution All over the world, villages far from urban centres have been losing their young, and kibbutzim on the periphery are no exception. This trend is strengthened by a (again world wide) loss of faith in socialist ideologies.

Groups of youth, who for one reason or another couldn't live with their families and were brought up by kibbutz foster families, used to be a reservoir of possible members, and many of them did join. But the rate of their absorption has been falling steadiliy and many kibbutzim, Reshafim among them, have ceased this activity (a mistake, as this social activity could have could have helped the kibbutz to preserve some of its relevance in a changing society).

Age distribution Moreover, families tend to be smaller (2 to 3 children as opposed to 3 to 5 a generation ago), and there are less and less second and third generation candidates for membership. Young people prefer to put off major decisions about their life until they are well into their twenties, travel abroad and pursue academic careers without comitting themselves to living on the kibbutz.

In the last few years kibbutz life has become more attractive to ever growing numbers of younger Israelis who are looking for an alternative way of bringing up their children and are willing to commute to work (It takes about 2 hours to drive to Tel Aviv for instance.) In 2012 17 new members with 14 children joined Reshafim, 2013 another four and 2014 an additional ten.

 

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November 1999
Latest update: 17 February 2015