What is Life Like on a Kibbutz?

Kibbutz life involves several hundred people who work together for the benefit of the community as a whole and all profits are shared.

kibbutz-life-israelThe kibbutz could be quite industrial and have one or more factories on site, or it could be purely agricultural, or even a mixture of both. Most kibbutzim employ foreign workers known as volunteers who work alongside the members of the kibbutz for no pay.

In exchange for six hours work, six days a week, the kibbutz provides everything the volunteer needs, including a small subsistence allowance for the purchase of cigarettes and alcohol from the kibbutz shop. The volunteer has no bills to pay, no requirement for money, or any need to wonder where the next meal will be coming from. Life on a kibbutz can therefore become quite ideal as a result.

Each kibbutz is literally surrounded by a high fence and the main gates are closed at night, so there is a very safe, village community feel to life. It is a quiet, relatively stress-free existence, with a very slow pace of life compared to the rest of the outside world. In the last 50 years 400,000 people from around the world, most of them non-Jews, have worked on a kibbutz in Israel.

The majority of them left as I did with some very fond memories of kibbutz life and Israel in general. As a result of this Israel will therefore no doubt have a significant number of friends from across the globe who maintain a particular affection for the country.


Jonathan Nicholas with dog on kibbutz. Photo courtesy of the author.

Jonathan Nicholas was born in England but left the country when he was eighteen years old and spent five years traveling around Europe, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. He is now an established travel writer and one of his books, Kibbutz Virgin, describes in detail his time spent living and working on a kibbutz in Israel.

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