Question about Israel after WWII

Old Sep 12th, 2020, 02:06 PM
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Question about Israel after WWII

I'm reading a book Before Memories Fade about a Romanian Jewish woman who emigrates to Israel after the war and lives on a kibbutz. I am curious about the conditions in Israel in the early days of Jewish immigration. I know nothing about Israel at that time. I took a trip to Israel during the mid-to-late 60's, but it was focused more on Christian religious sites and Biblical sites than on the recent history. I did notice that the areas where the Israelis lived were much more cultivated and "civilized"(?) than the areas where the Palestinians lived.

At the time I assumed that the Israelis were more modern and more ambitious than the Palestinians. Later it occurred to me that it was possible that the Israelis settled in the more advantageous areas.

A young neighbor of mine from Spokane, Tim Durkin, traveled to Israel and lived on a kibbutz for a time, and he told me a little about life on the kibbutz but very little about the land itself.

Can anyone aim me in the right direction so I can learn more about the physical challenges of the Kibbutzim? Any books?
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Old Sep 13th, 2020, 06:36 AM
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Of course it's a very big subject and experiences will vary enormously. I'd probably start with a "big picture" overview using the Jewish Virtual Library (an invaluable resource) - .

We visited some of my late wife's family on several occasions, at their home at Degania Alef, the first kibbutz, founded in 1909 on land previously acquired from Ottoman owners with funds supplied by Baron Edmond James de Rothschild. (If your tour included a visit to the Yardenit baptism site at the mouth of the Jordan River as it exits Lake Kinneret/Sea of Galilee, you've been there.) Degania is on land suitable for a fairly wide range of agricultural activities - livestock, dates, bananas, etc. - but of course not every kibbutz was sited as fortunately. Many were developed on very marginal land - desert for the most part - and for various reasons. Some were created by the Zionist movements before World War II, and others were created (or hugely accelerated) by the arrival of refugees following the Holocaust.

So generalizing is quite impossible; the experiences of the pioneers very much depended on the specifics - where did they go, when did they get there, etc. While Israel is a small country, it's extremely diverse geographically, so comparing an agricultural kibbutz like Degania with one in the Negev or near the Dead Sea... well, you can imagine.

I'm not going to comment on the visual appearance differences between the various parts of Israel. If you were there in the "mid to late 60s" then of course things are hugely different now, and economic disparities, often very big ones, exist between predominantly Jewish and predominantly Muslim parts of the country. Big and difficult topic.
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Old Sep 13th, 2020, 10:16 AM
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Thanks for the link. I appreciate it. I'd love to go back to Israel and explore more of the country. It must have been in 1967 or later, when I was there, as I recall seeing orange or brown painted tanks or trucks (or something similar) situated by the side of the road, I think left there as sort of memorials of the six day war.

Life really is wasted on the young. At the time I visited Israel, I was interested in traveling but didn't know much about history, even recent history. Now, when I'm very interested in history, I'm getting too old to travel much.
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