Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy days in Negba (i met naomi there in 1973)

The quarters are tiny, "a real hole in the wall," as one new resident puts it. And equality is unlike that in the past because of a legal agreement that ensures partial economic independence. But Kibbutz Negba in the northern Negev boasts a winning number: 82 new members have been taken in during the past three years, most of them returning residents. So after fifteen years without a single new member, the kibbutz's membership has nearly doubled.

Negba's success is the fruit of a plan drawn up three years ago. At the time some of the younger generation at the kibbutz lived there as "apartment renters", but most of them had already built their lives elsewhere. Kibbutz Secretary Naomi Vilan describes herself as "one of those who mourn the cooperative kibbutz of the past." But even she understood that "change is inevitable. There are processes that are larger than us, in Israel and overseas. We understood that we had to lead the change, not be dragged." (more from Haaretz)

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