The kibbutz is an original and unique Israeli creation.
It is a multi-generation, rural settlement, characterized by its collective and cooperative community lifestyle, democratic management, responsibility for the welfare of each adult member and child, and shared ownership of its means of production and consumption.
Degania was the first kibbutz, founded by a group of a dozen, young pioneers in 1910, along the banks of the Sea of Galilee.
Since then, 273 kibbutzim (half of them prior to the establishment of the State of Israel) have spread across the country and, to a certain extent, have defined its borders.
The majority of kibbutzim were founded by members of the Zionist Youth Movements, from Israel and around the world.
During the past twenty years, most of the new members are second generation – sons and daughters who were born in the kibbutz. In addition, new immigrants and “city-folk” have been absorbed into the kibbutz community.
From the beginning, kibbutzim viewed themselves as endowed with a sense of duty, serving as a pillar of strength for Zionism, as well as for the National Labor Movement.
Kibbutzim were established throughout the country, particularly in previously, unsettled regions. The members lived under extreme conditions, while tilling the soil, drying the swamp lands, clearing the rocky mountainsides and building a settlement, as a link in the nationwide chain.
The Kibbutz Movement is the central headquarters representing all of the kibbutzim in dealing with government and regional authorities on all levels.
In addition, the Movement supplies a variety of services related to different aspects of daily life, both from its main offices, through its subdivisions and administrative departments.
In 2010, there were 270 kibbutzim in Israel. Their factories and farms account for 9% of Israel’s industrial output, worth US$8 billion, and 40% of its agricultural output, worth over $1.7 billion.