So i always knew the zionist movement was secular in its origins, and kibbutzim were the first successful attempt at socialism.
What i did NOT know, until last weekend, was that all of the early zionist settlers were hardcore marxists, adopted hebrew from a eastern european rabbi who reinvented the language and taught it to his two daughters and everyone thought he was crazy and moved to the promised land , that this ragtag experiment in collectivism created the city of tel aviv based upon a fictional utopia by ted herzl called judenland, in which the capital of judenland was a city named tel aviv; and that this completely stateless, anarchic movement created a city that in 40 years outgrew the economy of the 8000 year old city of jericho.
And that the backbone of the economy the socialists created was the state of israel until it was privatized in the 60s. When the rightists took power. Until then, it was a socialist experiment through and through.
Ive been studying this conflict for 14 years, but still had a decidedly capitalist view of history; where the kibbutzim were marginal, and JNF was doing most of the work.
The socialist roots of Israel multiply the miracle many times over. Many of those leftists were quite inclusive of Arabs too, ie Martin Buber.
This really is quite amazing. I learned from this cute israeli guy i met that the children on the kibbutzim were raised communally, and so many Marxists have tried but so few have suceeded in this respect. And the kibbutz mostly failed because they failed to propagate. Kids were not interested in marrying each other, because they were too much like siblings (“from the same batch”).
It is a useful lesson for any movement. If youre going to overcome biology with ideology, you best know that its going to take alot of ideology to do so.
I love israel even more now. Its so impressive, this hidden history.