• Issue: November 1985
  • Designer: D. Ben-Dov
  • Stamp size: 51.4 x 20 mm
  • Plate no.: 109
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

The kibbutz is a form of communal living in which the community both creates and supplies the needs of its members. It was founded by young pioneers who left their homes and their families in Europe and came to Eretz Israel to serve the Zionist ideal of settling the land and taking up a life of labour. They combined this with the age-long ideal of living a life of justice, equality and mutual help. A life in which there would be no discrimination and no exploitation of Man by Man.

The early kibbutz settlements could supply their members with only the bare minimum required for existence - a roof over their heads, food, and little more. At first, doubts were expressed as to whether the kibbutz could ever be economically viable in the absence of private initiative. The doubters were, however, proved wrong and the kibbutzim turned bare wasteland and swamps into flourishing settlements.

It is noteworthy that of all the attempts made during the past 100 years to establish a form of living based on social justice, only the kibbutz has survived through three generations. Originally, the kibbutz was completely agricultural in character, but the shortage of land and water led them to diversify into industry and today, not only do the kibbutzim, which account for a mere 4% of the population produce more than one third of the country's agricultural output but they also account for 8% of the country's manufactured products. As a result, the standard of living of the kibbutz has changed out of all recognition from the early pioneering days and today over 270 kibbutzim scattered over the face of the country provide their 125,000 members with a standard of living comparable to that of the town-dweller.

True to their ideals, the members of the kibbutz feel that they have a special responsibility to their country. Thus they are to be found serving in the army's elite units, assisting under-privileged youth and trying to educate them in the values of a productive life: they volunteer to help the less successful kibbutzim and help new ones to establish themselves. The kibbutzim are always interested in attracting new members to share their very special form of communal living in which most of the meals are eaten together and the women are free of the burdens of child-raising and are able to work while the children are cared for and educated. There are weekly meetings of all the members at which decisions are taken on all aspects of kibbutz activities; holidays, festivals, anniversaries and weddings are celebrated by the kibbutz as a whole and provision is made for those members who wish to have their own synagogue. The kibbutz cares for its members from the cradle to the grave so that the individual member and his family are freed from the fears of sickness or old age. The kibbutz also encourages its members to continue their studies and makes provision for its artistic members to practise their art. In spite of the emphasis on communal living, the family remains the basic unit - each family has its own apartment in which three or sometimes more generations can relax together. The kibbutznik is no different from other people but the framework in which he lives enables him to live a life full of content and meaning, without the pressures of economic and social competition and the day-to-day worries of normal living. On the other hand, he is expected to contribute his full share of work and to participate in the various activities of the group. The kibbutz is continually adapting itself to meet current conditions and needs, but will always remain true to the principles of its founders.

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The kibbutz