ISRAEL - Global Powerhouses

Arno Froese

A kibbutz, by definition, is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. But a century after the establishment of the first kibbutz, farming is no longer the main economic branch at some of Israel’s 200 kibbutzim (the plural form of kibbutz). In fact, some kibbutzim have come up with such successful technologies and products, that their members—once socialist farmers—have become quite wealthy.
NoCamels rounded up [some] of the most successful companies founded on the kibbutz in the fields of technology and manufacturing:

Kibbutz Sdot Yam’s Caesarstone
In 2014, Kibbutz Sdot Yam sold the majority stake of its Caesarstone’s shares to the public for $260 million, a hefty amount for its 400 members, who are now wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.

Founded in 1987 by the kibbutz, Caesarstone designs, engineers and manufactures stone surfaces. In recent years, it has become successful in the US luxury residential market, making Sdot Yam one of the richest kibbutzim in Israel.

Kibbutz Shamir’s Shamir Optical
Founded in 1944, the pastoral Kibbutz Shamir, located in the Galilee, has traditionally relied on agriculture, like most kibbutzim. But in 1972 the Kibbutz founded Shamir Optical, which manufactures lenses for eyeglasses. It’s now one of the world’s only manufacturers of multifocal lenses, a multi-billion-dollar industry, thanks to its groundbreaking technology.

In 2010, French optics giant Essilor acquired half of Shamir optics for $130 million.

Kibbutz Hazerim’s Netafim 
Netafim is synonymous with the famous Israeli invention of drip irrigation, which is now helping countries around the world to conserve water and save money by supplying plants with just the right amount of water.

Since then, Netafim—which currently employs 4,000 employees around the world—opened two additional plants in Israeli kibbutzim Magal and Yiftah, as well as 13 international manufacturing facilities in 11 countries, with representative offices in 110 countries.

Kibbutz Yizre’el’s Maytronics
Everyone knows the robots that clean swimming pools, but not everyone knows that a third of them come from Kibbutz Yizre’el, a rural collective community in Northern Israel.

Back in the 70s, Yizre’el’s Maytronics started manufacturing these automated pool cleaners, which can be seen in thousands of swimming pools around the world.

Now worth over $1 billion, Maytronics is set to invest about $5 million in a second manufacturing facility in Israel., 28 March 2016

Arno's Commentary

The kibbutz originated with the Russian kolkhoz, a communist, collective agricultural community. Officially, it was established in 1927 as the United Kibbutz Movement; later in 1936, the Socialist League of Palestine was founded. The movement was “secular, even staunchly atheistic,” often calling themselves “monasteries without God.”

It is of interest that during the first Aliyah (1881-1903), around 30,000 immigrants established communal settlements, but half of them returned to eastern European countries and other places. With the second Aliyah of about 40,000—mainly communist youth from the Soviet Union—the kibbutz movement took hold of Israel.

An article found on Wikipedia reads: “In 1927, the United Kibbutz Movement was established. Several Hashomer Hatzair kibbutzim banded together to form Kibbutz Artzi. In 1936, Socialist League of Palestine was founded, and served as an urban ally of HaKibbutz HaArtzi. In 1946, HaKibbutz HaArtzi and the Socialist League combined to form the Hashomer Hatzair Workers Party of Palestine which in 1948, merged with Ahdut HaAvoda to form the left-wing Mapam party.” 

Today, Israel is a social-capitalist country. As this article demonstrates, their ability to change has brought about almost unbelievable success.

Jews—more than any other group—are extremely liberal; thus, able to adapt to new circumstances, cleverly taking advantage of global conditions and unexpected events.

Here the message of Paul to the Christians: “And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law” (1 Corinthians 9:20-21).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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