The End of a Zionist Idyll

Nearly 100 years after its establishment, Israel's oldest kibbutz has voted to shed its socialist principles. Why life on the communal farm was not all it was cracked up to be

Tivadar Domaniczky for TIME

A child passes by on the road leading to the main entrance of the Kibbutz Degania Aleph in Israel.

When Israel's oldest kibbutz, Degania, announced that it was giving up its socialist ideals and going private--members could own homes and earn salaries based on how hard they worked--few other than the kibbutzniks themselves were happy. For many Israelis, Degania was a symbol of rosier days, a Zionist idyll of honest work and camaraderie. But for those who called it home, the kibbutz had become an anachronism as rusty as the battered farm tools on display for tourists. Today, the younger generation of kibbutzniks pines for individualism. Tamara Gal-Sarai gazes out over the kibbutz lawn until her eyes settle on the...

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