New Article: Sofer et al, The Communal and Renewed Kibbutz

Sofer, Michael, Ephraim S. Grossman, and David Grossman. “The Communal and Renewed Kibbutz: Ideology, Management and Institutional Change.” Studia Obszarów Wiejskich 38 (2015): 19-38.





This study considers the roles of management and ideology in modifying the sustainability of communal systems. We approached this issue by discussing the major forces that shaped the planned kibbutz and the recent processes that have brought about its current transformation. Using a questionnaire-based survey we tried to reveal the relative importance that the members attach to traditional kibbutz values and their perception of the tension between the original ideology and the management strategies that have been imposed on the communal society by both external and internal forces. The findings indicate that pragmatism tends to prevail over ideology and communality has difficulty in functioning effectively in a highly complex and changing world. It points to the weakening of the communal system and to growing disengagement from principles of equality. However, the process and project of reshaping the kibbutz is ongoing.



New Article: Rabkin, From Left to Right – Israel’s Repositioning in the World

Rabkin, Yakov M. “From Left to Right – Israel’s Repositioning in the World.” IDE Middle East Review 2 (2015): 80-102.



In the course of a few decades, the image of Israel has undergone a radical transformation. From one of an underdog, a successful socialist experiment and an incarnation of left-wing collectivist utopias it has turned into an assertive militarized state with an advanced economy open for foreign investment and a society deeply polarized between Arabs and non-Arabs, and between rich and poor. It is not surprising that the Zionist state of Israel appeals to rightists around the world.

Israel embodies not only a successful, albeit small-scale, attempt to re-colonize the world but also the belief that, as Margaret Thatcher used to say, “there is no alternative”. The campaign to discredit socialist alternatives, from the mildly socialdemocratic Sweden to the more regulated Soviet Union, makes good use of the little country in Western Asia. The state of Israel, in spite of its socialist origins, has come to symbolize the many features of globalized capitalism and of habitual reliance on force. While certainly not the most right-wing regime in existence, Israel has nonetheless become a beacon for right-wing movements around the world thanks to a gamut of ideological, political, economic and military values contained in political Zionism. This is why the right and the extreme right have come to constitute the backbone of Israel’s international support.



Lecture: Libman, Representation of the Kibbutz in 1950s Israel (SOAS, Nov 12, 2014)

SOAS Centre for Jewish Studies  


Utopia, Trauma, Icon: 

Representation of the Kibbutz in 1950s Israel


Dr. Lior Libman, UCL

Wednesday 12 November 2014 – 5.30pm

B104, Brunei Gallery, SOAS

The foundation of the State of Israel was a moment of crisis for the kibbutz: the establishment of formal state systems, Israel’s pro-Western international orientation, and the 1948 war and the refugees it created – all obligated the kibbutz to cope with deep changes and difficult conflicts. As opposed to the dynamic history of the kibbutz, the image of the kibbutz in the kibbutz’s own literature of the time remained static, replicating the patterns of representation of the pre-State era. The kibbutz was constructed as an icon – conventional and obvious, sacred and compulsively repeating itself. In the lecture, I will claim that this image is an expression of the kibbutz’s cultural-trauma in which its self-understanding in theo-political terms, as fulfilling, in everyday life, the meta-historical Zionist-Socialist repair and salvation, was radically undermined. To exemplify this argument, I will focus on Yigal Mossinson’s 1953 kibbutz novel, A Man’s Way. I will show that this novel, often considered provocative and hostile to the kibbutz, in fact, re-affirms the utopian perception of the kibbutz, in a desperate effort to recover it. This frozen image is what bore, I maintain, the actual danger for the kibbutz; its ejection from history neutralized its political potential.


All Welcome. This event is free and there is no need to book



New Article: Palgi and Getz, Varieties in Developing Sustainability: The Case of the Israeli Kibbutz

Palgi, Michal and Shlomo Getz. “Varieties in Developing Sustainability: The Case of the Israeli Kibbutz.” International Review of Sociology 24.1 (2014): 38-47.





Kibbutz communities and organizations were originally structured to be egalitarian and democratic. The last two decades proved to be a major challenge for their sustainability due to a serious economic crisis. Many scholars have lamented the end of the kibbutz, some of them claiming that there is no place for utopias in the twenty-first century. Kibbutz communities were trying to survive within a turbulent economic and social environment. This article will attempt to analyse varieties in developing sustainability that were adopted by kibbutz communities. Focusing on the impact of the economic crisis, we will investigate processes of value change within the kibbutz, taking into consideration that the kibbutz does not exist in a vacuum but is rather embedded within a society that has undergone transformation processes from a socialistic to a capitalistic orientation. The article will look at different solutions that kibbutz communities have adopted and strategies that kibbutz members used in order to cope with this crisis. We will explain how these solutions and strategies are reflected in members’ values and attitudes as well as taking into consideration in which areas value change was fast and in which it was slower. Our analysis will lead to a reflection on the different communitarian and non-communitarian models that might evolve in the kibbutz communities and their possible outcome. The discussion will focus on three dimensions of sustainability methods adopted by kibbutz communities that integrate value change, organizational change, and community processes.

New Publication: Russell, Hanneman, & Getz, eds. The Renewal of the Kibbutz

Russell, Raymond, Robert Hanneman, and Shlomo Getz, eds. The Renewal of the Kibbutz. From Reform to Transformation. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2013.



We think of the kibbutz as a place for communal living and working. Members work, reside, and eat together, and share income “from each according to ability, to each according to need.” But in the late 1980s the kibbutzim decided that they needed to change. Reforms—moderate at first—were put in place. Members could work outside of the organization, but wages went to the collective. Apartments could be expanded, but housing remained kibbutz-owned. In 1995, change accelerated. Kibbutzim began to pay salaries based on the market value of a member’s work. As a result of such changes, the “renewed” kibbutz emerged. By 2010, 75 percent of Israel’s 248 non-religious kibbutzim fit into this new category.

This book explores the waves of reforms since 1990. Looking through the lens of organizational theories that predict how open or closed a group will be to change, the authors find that less successful kibbutzim were most receptive to reform, and reforms then spread through imitation from the economically weaker kibbutzim to the strong.

Author / Editor Bio

RAYMOND RUSSELL is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Sharing Ownership in the Workplace and Utopia in Zion: The Israeli Experience with Worker Cooperatives.
ROBERT HANNEMAN is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Riverside. He has authored four books, including State Intervention in Medical Care: Consequences for Britain, France, Sweden, and the United States.

SHLOMO GETZ is a research associate at the Institute for Kibbutz Research at the University of Haifa and a senior lecturer at Emek Yezreel College in Israel. He has authored or coauthored numerous publications, including The Kibbutz in an Era of Changes and The Kibbutz: The Risk of Enduring (both written in Hebrew).

Table Of Contents

List of Tables

Introduction: Perspectives on Change in the Kibbutzim
1. Development of the Kibbutzim
2. From Crisis to Reform, 1985-2001
3. Consideration and Adoption of Innovations, 1990-2001
4. Transformation of the Kibbutzim, 1995-2011
5. From Transformation to Renewal

Appendix: Data Sources and Statistical Analytics




Conference: Moses Hess between Socialism & Zionism, Jerusalem, March 18-20, 2012

Click here for PDF file of the Program, including contact details.



International Conference


200th Anniversary of his Birth (1812)

150th Anniversary of his Book “Rome and Jerusalem” (1862)

(Jerusalem, Sunday-Tuesday, March 18-20, 2012)


Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem * Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Israel Office * Martin Buber Chair for Jewish Thought and Philosophy, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main * Centre for German-Jewish Studies, University of Sussex


Opening Event

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Venue: The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 20 Radak Street


18:30 Gathering



Anja Siegemund, Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem

Peter Prügel, Minister and Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the Federal Republic of Germany

Christian Wiese, Martin Buber Chair for Jewish Thought and Philosophy, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main

Angelika Timm, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Israel Office


Keynote Lecture

Shlomo Avineri (Jerusalem)

Moses Hess – Revolutionary, Communist, Zionist: A Re-Assessment.


Chair: Shulamit Volkov (Tel Aviv)


Reading of Hess’s texts by Illi Gorlitzky (in Hebrew)



Monday, March 19, 2012

Venue: Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem, 33 Bustenai Street


9:30-11:00 The Spinozist Hess

Willi Goetschel (Toronto / Göttingen)

Hess and the Philosophical Moment of Radical Spinozism

Tracie Matysik (Austin)

Politics of Spinozist Friendship: Moses Hess and Berthold Auerbach

Chair: Shlomo Avineri (Jerusalem)


11:20-12:30 Hess and Marx

David McLellan (Kent)

Moses Hess, Karl Marx, and ‘True Socialism’: Similarities and Differences

Michael Kuur Sørensen (Odense)

The Concept of ‘Verkehr’: A Source of Conflict between Karl Marx and Moses Hess

Chair: Mario Kessler (Potsdam)


13:50-15:00 Hess in Paris

Silvia Richter (Heidelberg)

Moses Hess and Paris: The Influence of France and French Thinkers on his Work, with a View on Heine and Marx

Mark Gelber (Beer Sheva)

German-Speaking Jews in Paris and the Turn to Jewish Nationalism in the 19th Century: Heine, Hess, Herzl

Chair: Natalie Goldberg (Ramat Gan)


15:20-16:30 Money – Hess’s Criticism of Judaism

Adam Sutcliffe (London)

Moses Hess, Jewish Autocritique, and the Politics of Money

Sharon Gordon (Jerusalem)

Gold is the Language of God: Symbol and Metaphor in Hess’s “Über das Geldwesen”

Chair: Gideon Reuveni (Brighton)


16:50-18:00 The Universal Mission of the Jews

Ofri Ilani (Tel Aviv)

Hess’s “Die heilige Geschichte der Menschheit” and the Place of Jews in Universal History

Ron Margolin (Tel Aviv)

The Historic Mission of Jewish Humanism and its Maskilic Origins

Chair: Willi Goetschel (Toronto / Göttingen)


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Venue: Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem, 33 Bustenai Street


9:30-10:50 Rome and Jerusalem (1)

Iveta Leitane (Riga)

‘Socialism’ in ‘Nationalism’ and Vice Versa: The Narratives of Jewish Tradition and Religion in Moses Hess

Lorenzo Santoro (Cosenza)

“Rom und Jerusalem”: Giuseppe Mazzini and Moses Hess: Revolution, Nationalism, and the New Politics within the Boundaries of Religious Discourse

Chair: Gideon Freudenthal (Tel Aviv)


11:10-12:20 Rome and Jerusalem (2)

Kenneth Koltun-Fromm (Haverford)

Visual Authenticity in Moses Hess’s Rome and Jerusalem

Michael K. Silber (Jerusalem)

Languages of Nationalism: The Collective Representation of Jews in Moses Hess’s “Rom und Jerusalem”

Chair: Anja Siegemund (Jerusalem)


13:30-15:10 Jewish Messianism

George Y. Kohler (Beer Sheva)

The Dispute between Moses Hess and Leopold Löw: A Renewed Messianic Thought in Nineteenth-Century Germany

Christian Wiese (Frankfurt am Main)

Moses Hess and Samuel Hirsch on Judaism and Christianity

Mirjam Thulin (Frankfurt am Main)

Moses Hess and Heinrich Graetz: Science, History, and Concepts of the Jewish Nation

Chair: Paul Mendes-Flohr (Jerusalem)


15:30-16:40 The Dialectics of Socialism and Nationalism

Moshe Zuckermann (Tel Aviv)

Georg Lukács on Moses Hess: a Materialist Critique of Idealism 

Mario Kessler (Potsdam)

Moses Hess and the Marxist Discourse since 1945

Chair: Angelika Timm (Tel Aviv)


17:00-18:30 Round Table Twin Revolutions: Socialism and Zionism

Shlomo Avineri (Jerusalem)

David McLellan (Kent)

Anita Shapira (Tel Aviv)

Moshe Zuckermann (Tel Aviv)

Chair: Christian Wiese (Frankfurt am Main)


Conference website:


Free Admission

Limited Number of Seats Available




Poster of conference (PDF).

Invitation 1, 2 (PDF).

ToC: Israel Studies 16,2 (2011)

Israel Studies

Volume 16, Number 2, Summer 2011


E-ISSN: 1527-201x Print ISSN: 1084-9513

Table of Contents

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Special Section:
Israel and International Humanitarian Lawn

Israel and International Humanitarian Law: Between the Neo-Realism of State Security and the "Soft Power" of Legal Acceptability

Amichai Cohen
Stuart A. Cohen

pp. 1-23

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Subject Headings:

The Politics of NGOs, Human Rights and the Arab-Israel Conflict

Gerald M. Steinberg

pp. 24-54

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Subject Headings:

Having It Both Ways: The Question of Legal Regimes in Gaza and the West Bank

Hilly Moodrick-Even Khen

pp. 55-80

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Special Section:
The Kibbutz

Kibbutz: Survival At Risk

Eliezer Ben-Rafael

pp. 81-108

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The Transformation of the Kibbutzim

Raymond Russell
Robert Hanneman
Shlomo Getz

pp. 109-126

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Subject Headings:

Discontent from Within: Hidden Dissent Against Communal Upbringing in Kibbutz Children’s Literature of the 1940s & 1950s

Yael Darr

pp. 127-150

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Ethics and Responsibility: The Feminization of the New Israeli Documentary

Yael Munk

pp. 151-164

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Review Essay

Out of the Frame: The Struggle for Academic Freedom in Israel (review)

Yossi Ben-Artzi

pp. 165-183

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Being Indian, Being Israeli: Migration, Ethnicity and Gender in the Jewish Homeland (review)

Sara Lamb

pp. 184-186

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pp. 187-189

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pp. 190-191

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Cite: Sa’adi, Communism and Zionism

Sa’di, Ahmad H. "Communism and Zionism in Palestine-Israel: A Troubled Legacy." Holy Land Studies 9.2 (2010): 169-183.



The political marginalisation of the Palestinians inside Israel between 1948 and 1977 has been widely discussed in the literature. The Israeli Communist Party is often credited with being the sole political organisation which gave an outlet during this period to the critical and oppositional political, literary and artistic activities of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. The Party organs in particular have done their utmost to popularise this claim, which has also become an article of faith for many Arab left-wing intellectuals. The question tackled in this article is: why did the Israeli State grant a margin of freedom to the Communist Party during this period, while denying it to every single Palestinian organisation inside Israel? I discussed this question at a conference on the Left in Palestine held at SOAS in February 2010. While the reader will be spared here the details of the subsequent personal accusations levelled against me in the organs of the Communist Party, I argue here (as in my SOAS paper) that the Communist Party was given this freedom of action for a range of reasons and in particular those to do with the Soviet support for the establishment of Israel and the important pro-Zionist role played the Communist Party during the 1948 War for Palestine. Other reasons are related to the endorsement by the Communist Party of Zionism’s tenets and claims in support of the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, including the ‘modernising’ nature of the Zionist project.