The Kibbutz Movement: A History, Origins and Growth, 1909-1939 v. 1

BookThe Kibbutz Movement: A History, Origins and Growth, 1909-1939 v. 1

The Kibbutz Movement: A History, Origins and Growth, 1909-1939 v. 1

The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization


February 21st, 2008

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The two volumes of this work comprise the first comprehensive history of the kibbutz movement in any language.

Origins and Growth covers the first thirty years of this fascinating story, from the formation of the kibbutz in the opening years of the twentieth century to the eve of the Second World War. It is a masterly analysis of the genesis and expansion of the kibbutzim and their relations with the world around them. It considers not only the various components of the kibbutz movement but also the pioneering youth movements from which their members came.

Henry Near’s analysis of the ideological, political, economic, and social development of the kibbutz movement is illustrated throughout by excerpts from historical sources, affording a wealth of colourful insights into the changing quality of kibbutz life as experienced by its members.

The second volume, Crisis and Achievement, 1939-1995 extends the detailed historical analysis to 1977 and gives a comprehensive overview of subsequent developments.

'Long and scholarly volume ... Near brings us every primary source on the topic, making this material available to the non-Hebrew reader for the first time ... a treasure trove of information.'
Sara Reguer, AJS Review

'The most systematic and comprehensive book ever written on the first three decades of kibbutz history ... the abundant statistical data and tables convey the realities beyond the aspirations, and there are descriptions of everyday life and of developments in kibbutz society and education.'
Yuval Dror, Catedra
'Pays special attention to the kibbutz movement as such and has added excerpts from historical sources to give an insight into the changing quality of kibbutz life as experienced by its members.'
International Review of Social History
'There has been no systematic survey of its historical development until Henry Near's fascinating and detailed account ... The story is told in meticulous detail.'
Leon Sheleff, Jerusalem Post
'This is an excellent and well researched book that is well written, with illuminating recollections and quotations from memoirs. It is a pleasure to read and its sequel will be well worth waiting for.'
Hugh Courts, Jewish Book News & Reviews
'Excellent ... the first comprehensive history of the Kibbutz movement in any language.'
Barry Shenker, Jewish Chronicle
'Henry Near has pioneered the history of the Kibbutz movement for the English reader.'
Noah Lucas, Journal of Jewish Studies
'Notably thoughtful and scholarly ... he has succeeded in putting together an admirably coherent and clearly written account of the kibbutz movement's history, an authoritative narrative account of which has long been needed. When completed by a second volume, The Kibbutz Movement: A History is sure to serve as the standard text on the subject for years to come.'
David Vital, Times Literary Supplement

Author Information

Henry Near was Professor Emeritus in the Jewish History and Education Departments at Oranim Academic College and the University of Haifa and had been a member of Kibbutz Beit Ha’emek since 1955. He was the author of The Kibbutz and Society, 1923–1933 (1984), Studies in the Third Aliyah, 1919–1924 (with B. Ben-Avram, 1995), and Living in a Kibbutz (5th edition 1991). The prize-winning first volume of his history of the kibbutz movement appeared in 1992. He died in 2012.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Half Title2
Title Page4
List of Tables15
Translation, Transliteration, Annotation, and References16
1. Background and Beginnings, 1904–192024
Zionist Settlement and the Second Aliya24
Communes and Kvutzot35
The Spread of the Kvutzot58
Historical Elements in the Creation of the Kvutza70
2. Expansion and Consolidation, 1918–192375
The Third Aliya and the 'Fellowship of the Roads'75
Gedud Ha'avoda and Hashomer Hatzair86
The Kibbutz Movement in 192396
3. The Pioneering Youth Movements: Origins and Growth, 1900–1935114
The 'Classic' Youth Movements129
The Smaller Movements142
The Youth Movements in the Early 1930s146
4. The Fourth Aliya and the Creation of the Kibbutz Movements, 1924–1930148
The Fourth Aliya: Patterns of Settlement148
Gedud Ha'avoda and Ein Harod 153
The Foundation of the Kibbutz Movements165
Unity and Variety176
5. After the Crisis: Recovery and Growth, 1927–1935183
The World in Transition183
Economics and Settlement187
Development of the Kibbutz Movements208
6. Politics and Youth, 1927–1935212
The Politicization of the Kibbutz Movements212
The Expansion of the Youth Movements235
Historical Influences on the Development of the Youth Movements248
7. Glimpses of Social History: The Kibbutz Community, 1925–1935253
Patterns of Education: The 1920s and 1930s253
Community and Culture263
Ways of Life: Three Kibbutzim, 1935272
8. Diversity and Unity: The Smaller Movements, 1930–1939291
Pioneering Youth Movements in the Diaspora291
Pioneering Youth Movements in the Yishuv299
The Religious Kibbutz Movements305
Youth Movements and Kibbutz Movements311
9. The Heroic Period, 1936–1939316
The Arab Revolt316
The Kibbutz Movement and the Defence of the Yishuv321
Tower and Stockade332
Hechalutz and Illegal Immigration345
10. Economics, Politics, and Society, 1936–1939353
The Kibbutz Economy353
Demographic Developments359
The Kibbutz in Politics361
Social Developments382
11. Comments and Conclusions403
Social Developments404
The Kibbutz and the Outside World: Ideological Variants406
Achievements and Apprehensions415
Appendix 1: The Kibbutz Movement in 1939417
Appendix 2: Guide to Other Settlements Mentioned in this Volume420
Map: The Kibbutz Movement in Context, 1939422