Kibbutz in Israel

You must have heard about a kibbutz in Israel at one time or another. If you haven’t, here is a short explanation of what it is:

A kibbutz is a collective community.

But what does that mean? It means a group of people/families that live in a small community and share property. Sounds pretty socialist?! That’s because it is! Very much so. It is a unique form of community that is only found in Israel, however less than 5% of Israelis live in a kibbutz.

Kibbutz Lavi, Galilee, IsraelTypical housing in a kibbutz. From Kibbutz Lavi in the Galilee. Picture by Gaspa.

The kibbutzim (plural of kibbutz) started in the early 20th century, even before the State of Israel was formed. Until recent times the kibbutzim were largely based on farming. Today most of them have changed significantly - they have been mostly privatized and people are no longer sharing property and such. I guess socialism/communism wasn’t that great of an idea after all…

Still most of the kibbutzim in Israel have a special feel to them that you will never get in the big cities. It is a mix of simple/rural life with a strong sense of affinity between the people.

Kibbutz Gvaram in the south central part of IsraelKibbutz Gvaram in the south central part of Israel. Picture by Or Hiltch.

Some people (usually in their twenties) come from Europe, the U.S. or elsewhere to do volunteer work in an Israeli kibbutz for a few months and experience a different way of life.

Most, if not all, of the kibbutzim have some sort of tourist accommodations or hotels. My recommendation to you is to visit at least one kibbutz while you visit the country and if possible stay a night at a bed and breakfast at one of the many kibbutzim in the country.

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Q: We will be staying at a kibbutz that has tourist accommodation. It is included as part of our tour. Should we tip, and how much? A: Great …

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