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December 30, 1977 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-12-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

8 Friday, December 30, 1977 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Thirty Years of Pioneering Are Recalled at Kibutz Shoval

Kibutz Shoval is located
17 ',/2 miles northwest of
Beersheva. To the east are
the Mountains of Hebron.
To the west, the breeze

comes in from the sea.
Across the road is the most
striking contrast of yes-
terday and today, the Arab
Bedouin village of el Huzeil,
where Bedouins have set

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down their roots in per-
manent homes and no long-
er live in tents but in a
village. In fact, some 6-7,000
Bedouins live within a three
to four mile circumference
of the kibutz.
According to Sybil Zim-
merman of Israel Digest, in
1946, Kibutz Shoval was one
of the 11 communities to be
set up the night after Yom
Kippur to secure the south-
ern part of Israel. This was
the time of the British Man-
date over Palestine and set-
tlement was supposed to be
only with the permission of
the British authorities.

The Jewish National Fund
managed to buy land from
Arab absentee land owners
and on that designated
night, supplies and tools
were taken by truck convoy
to the sites.

Founders of the commu-
nity and volunteers from
nearby villages went to
work and before dawn pre-
fab bungalows, tents, a
make-shift dining hall,
shower house, a fence and
the inevitable watchtower
would be. established.
One of the founders of
Kibutz Shoval who was
among that hardy group of
halutzim was Efraim Sha-
char, now 56 years old.
Efraim was a member of
Hashomer Hatzair in his na-
tive Germany from the age
of 10 or 12. When, by the age
of 17, he could not get the
needed certificate to come
to Palestine, he followed his
brother and sister to South
Africa. After 4-5 years in
southern Rhodesia, com-
pleting training as an elec-
trician ; he and his Hash-
omer Hatzair group
managed to immigrate to
Palestine in 1942.

Travel Agents Plan
9-Day Israel Tour

Thirty-four travel agents
from across Michigan will
leave Detroit Jan. 7 for a
nine-day tour of Israel.
Designed specifically for
Michigan travel agents as
an - educational expe-
rience, - the trip is jointly
sponsored by El Al Israel
Airlines and the Israel Gov-
ernment Tourist Office. Ami
Spektor, district manager of
El Al for Michigan, will host
the group.
According to El Al Israel
Airlines, more Americans
visited Israel in the first 10
months of 1977 than in the
whole of 1976. A total of
233,248 U. S. tourists visited
Israel from Jan. 1 through
Oct. 31, a 25 percent in-
crease over the same period
in 1976.
The tour includes sight-
seeing, meetings with high-
ranking officials and their
counterparts within the
travel industry. Deluxe ac-
commodations have been
arranged for the agents in
Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as
well as at a kibutz guest
house in the Galilee.
The tongue of the drunk
reveals what is on the
minds of the sober.

Their core group started
kibutz life first on an estab-
lished community, then they
founded their own near Na-
tanya and waited their turn
to move to a more pioneer-
ing area.

Today, Efraim is super-
visor of the electric work-
shop and responsible for
everything connected with
electricity. His wife, Tova,
whose family had immi-
grated to Palestine from
Poland in the '30's and who
also was part of Hashomer
Hatzair worked for 25 years
as a children's nurse; she
now works in the sewing
shop.
The Shachars' eldest son,
Amos, 29, is a pilot in the
Air Force ; Hagit, 26, is
working for the Hashomer
Hatzair youth movement in
Tel Aviv; Nava, 20, com-
pleted the army and now
works on the kibutz; and
Noah, 14, is in high school.
When Kibutz Shoval was
founded, they had some 450
acres of semi-desert area.
As Efraim recalls, glanc-
ing at a photograph he took
of the sandy, barren area at
the time of their founding:

"We felt we were realiz-
ing our ideas and wishes
which we had lived towards
for many years — of settl-
ing a virgin spot of land in a
new uncultivated area. We
felt we were doing some-
thing that then was cer-
tainly not extraordinary for
Palestine, for Isarelis, for
the Jewish part of Pales-
tine.

"We felt we were meeting
the role that we should play
and which we meant to play
from the very beginning.
We were just doing the nec-
essary step which was quite
natural."
Water was carted daily by
small truck from the near-
est village six-and-a-half
miles away but only for
drinking and cooking. For a
long time water had to be
rationed and there was no
daily shower. There were no
roads, no telephone, no elec-
tricity, no water for irriga-
tion.
As the water line was
built, the kibutz members
seeded wheat-like grain.
Today, the whole northern
Negev is the grain-growing
section of Israel and Kibutz
Shoval's main crops are
wheat, barley, sorghum and
other crops of this type.

Kibutz Shoval has grown
from 450 acres to 4,500.
About one-third is now in-
tensively farmed, that is,
fully irrigated year around.
The climate is very dry with
hot summer days and cool
summer evenings. The win-
ter only averages 10 inches
of rainfall a year and the
nights sometimes drop to
freezing.

The first 25 or 30 founders
have grown to over 500 —
including members, chil-
dren, dependents and volun-
teers.
The kibutz now grows cot-
ton and potatoes; they have
a citrus grove and or-
chards,: there are 1.700

head of dairy cattle, a
chicken run and a small
factory doing precision met-
al work.
Kibutz Shoval is a com-
plex and complete village.
The older single 'tory bun-
galows and the modem two
story building have lush
lawns, vines, trees, flowers,
shrubs and date palms
around them. Most build-
ings have TV antennas at-
tached.

Like most moderate-size
kibutzim, there is a commu-
nal dining hall, children's
houses, a general store,
laundry and sewing build-
ings; carpentry, metal and
electric shops; shoemaker,
beauty and barber facil-
ities; health clinic; a club
room and a library and even
the district high school.

"From every point of
view, settling in this semi-
desert area is a huge suc-
cess," says Efraim.
"The land was actually
flat and sandy. From the
human, economic and scien-
tific points of view, it's a
success, but- not only of a
single group of people — it's
a success of the Zionist
movement and of Israel."
In a way, there is nothing
left of the pioneering as it
was in 1946 or even in the
first 10 years, but there is a
new form of pioneering
now.

"We don't feel we have
made full or final use of all
the resources we have at
our disposal — land, water
and_ human endeavor," ex-
plains Efraim.

"We hope that one day we
can find water in the Shoval
area. We know for sure
there is little chance of find-
ing sweet water but there
are crops being developed
around the country which
can utilize the salty water.
That is one of our far-
ranged dreams — being less
dependent, developing Shov-

UJA Convenes
Solicitor Seminar

NEW YORK — The Har-
vard School of Business in
Cambridge, Mass. was the
recent scene of a concen-
trated, two-day advanced
solicitor seminar conducted
by the United Jewish Ap-
peal.
Under the supervision of
Prof. Benson Shapiro of
Harvard, 12 "special stu-
dents" were trained to re-
fine, sharpen and expand
their existing skills in the
area of major gift solic-
itation.
Participants in the semi-
nar included Detroiter Daniel
Honigman, 1977 general
chairman of the Allied Jew-
ish Campaign-Israel Emer-
gency Fund.

al more intensively by local
resources."

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