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July 25, 1980 - Image 20

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-07-25

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

20 Friday, JulMill(

THE DETR

Navon Contemplates Challenges of Contemporary Kibutz Life

By JAMES A. LEWIN



Condensed and translated
from Al Hamishmar

Q: It has been said, Mr.
President, that your
heart is equally divided
—, one half in the kibutz

and the other half in
Jerusalem.
A: Not exactly. When I'm
in the kibutz, all my heart is
in the kibutz, and when I'm
in Jerusalem, all my heart
is in Jerusalem. But some-

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times, even when I'm in
Jerusalem, in spirit I'm
whole-heartedly in the
kibutz.
Q: The percentage of
children growing up in
the kibutz and then leav-
ing, has been growing in
recent years. Where will
kibutzim find their future
members?
. A: They will find them.
First of all, some will come
from outside. Secondly, it
depends on the particular
kibutz. I don't have exact
statistics, but I've been told
about half the children
leave the kibutz. In some
kibutzim, 60 percent of
those born there leave in
search of new horizons, in
others only 20 percent. The
question is why. Evidently,
there is a range of influ-
ences working in both direc-
tions and these could also
reverse the trend away from
the kibutz.
Q: For instance?
A: Every individual has
a natural need to receive
things, but he also has a
need to give of himself, to
express himself not only in a
personal way but also for
the public benefit, for
society in general. People
need to find a balance be-
tween these two tendencies.
Today's kibutzim, espe-
cially the well-established
and successful among them,
give their members every-
thing they need in terms of
housing, social stability,
food, educational oppor-
tunities — really like a uto-
pian society. The one thing
they don't provide is a sense
of challenge to the younger
person growing up in
kibutz. They ignore the
other side of the human be-
ing. What do they demand
of him? What can he give?
Q: What would you
suggest?
A: In contrast with the
early days of the kibutz,
when great efforts and
hardships were required in

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the struggle with nature,
the kibutz today offers
many comforts including
quite luxurious dining
halls, members clubs, youth
clubs, "discos," etc. at the
same time, economically
the kibutz has become
closed off within itself,
separated from the rest of
society.
Q: How to counteract
this separation?
A: I see it as necessary
and possible, not only for
the young, but for the vete-
ran kibutzniks as well, to go
beyond the borders of the
kibutz. The kibutz is not
adequately involved with
society at large. I think that
if the youth of the kibutz
had more contact with
young people outside, their
reactions would be differ-
ent.
If they were immunized to
the temptations and chal-
lenges of the outside world,
they wouldn't upon leaving
high school for the army, for
the first time confront as-
pects of reality which young
people from a less protected
environment have been ex-
posed to long before. We
must encourage more in-
teraction and not be afraid
of it.
Q: How do these chal-
lenges apply to the older
members of the kibutz?
A: The poeple who estab-
lished the kibutzim are a
living model for the young.
I've asked veteran
kibutzniks about the idea of
new settlements, not just for
young people but for entire
families from already .estab-
lished kibutzim. It's not
easy to ask people who are
already mature to leave the
framework they've lived in
for so many years, but there
is a great value in this.
We have not yet finished
our work. Settling the land
is still a national challenge
of the first order, both from
the aspect of political
economy as well as from the
ethical value of working the
land. The period of pioneer-
ing is not over. We are still
at the beginning of the de-
velopment of our land. The
Galil, for example, must be
developed: I would suggest
to a young person today to
view this not only as a mat-
ter of individual self-
realization but also as a
challenge of highest na-
tional importance.
Q: What about young
people • whose hearts are
not inclined to settle-
ment?
A: It appears that there
are now in the country tens
of thousands of young
people who neither work
nor study, and this is a
hotbed for crime. If the
kibutz movement would
undertake the responsiblity
for these young people,
wouldn't that be an impor-
tant contribution? If we say
to the young people in the
kibutz, come let us meet and
work with 12, 13. and 14-
year-old kids from the area,
who are neither in jobs nor
school — this could enable
us to save 20,000 to 30,000
young people.
Q: But we are already
doing this!

Israel President Yitzhak Navon, right, visits his
childhood friend, David Tam, and his family at Kibutz
Ein Dor. Shown from left are: Tam's daughter '
daughter-in-law and grandchildren, Tam and Navon

A: Obviously we're doing
it, but not enough! I think
this could be a tremendous
contribution to society at
large and to the kibutz it-
self. I see three major chal-
lenges for the youth of to-
day:
helping
Settlement,
youth in distressed circum-
stances, volunteering for
the standing army. This last
is positive both for defense
and for education. An officer
in the army is also a guide
for education in citizenship.
For thousands of young
people now entering the
army, this may be their last
opportunity for positive de-
velopment.
Lately, there has been a
lessening of interest in vol-
unteering for the standing
army — this is a problem
throughout the country, but
especially for the kibutz be-
cause it is a society based on
values of working and serv-
ing. If the kibutz tried to act
otherwise, it would no

,

I

longer be the kibutz. More
refrigerators, more televi-
sionS, more money? If the
kibutzim want to be merely
materialistic, then they lose
their essence.
Q: Is it within the
power of the kibutz
movement to take upon
itself such heavy respon-
sibilities?
A: For many years, the
kibutz set the standard for
society. For years it has
been known that in the
kibutz, there is a distinctive
scale of values. Even if I am
not a member of a kibutz I
expect more from them.
Perhaps the kibutznik will
say, "What do you want
from me, to give an example
all my life? The time has
come for me to rest and re-
tire." From the aspect of
absolute justice, this is true,
but as regards the inner
character of the kibutz, this
is a split from its original
nature.

Daylight Saving Time
Begins Aug. 2 in Israel

JERUSALEM (JTA) —
Clocks will be moved ahead
one hour at midnight Aug. 2
as Israel adopts daylight
saving time as an energy-
saving measure.
Interior Minister Yosef
Burg was forced to imple-
ment the change in com-
pliance with a Supreme
Court ruling despite his
own objections and strenu-
ous protests from the Or-
thodox religious establish-
ment.
The high court issued its
ruling July 13 in response to
an appeal by Zeev Segal, an
energy conservation expert.
It accepted his legal argu-
ment that a 1940 ordinance
by the Mandatory Govern-
ment required the govern-
ment to introduce daylight
saving time. Its duration is
left to the Interior Minis-
ter's discretion.
Daylight saving time
will be in effect for about
six weeks, until Sept. 15.
Energy experts said that
IL 1 billion ($20 million)

JNF Camps_
Host Foreigners

JERUSALEM (JTA) —
Some 56 youth groups from
19 countries will spend the
summer in Jewish National
Fund camps in Israel. Some
camps will host both over-
seas and local youth.

could be saved annually
if daylight saving time
was in effect May 1 - Oct.
30.
The extra hour of day-
light will inconvenience ob-
servant Jews who will have
to rise earlier for their
morning prayers and end
the Sabbath later.

Economy Down,
Inflation Is Up

JERUSALEM (JTA) —
Israel has been undergoing
an economic slowdown since
the beginning of the year,
according to the Bank of Is-
rael.
A bank report says the
main characteristics of the
slowdown have been a drop
in private consumption, a
drop in real wages and a
increase in unemployment2'
Industrial production
went down 10 percent in the
first three months of th
year and the number 4:1111.
workers decreased by some
period of stagflation — a de-
cline in industrial. produc-
tion and private consump-
tion and a growth in unem-
ployment — but at the same
time galloping inflation.

Do not give to your
friends the most agreeable
counsels, but the most ad-
vantageous.
— Tuckerman

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