Background on Kibbutz Revivim
Kibbutz Revivim was founded in the summer of 1943. About 800 people live in Revivim today, 370 of them kibbutz members and 150 children. Revivim offers a Hebrew school (Ulpan) for new immigrants (continually since 1968). Other temporary residents include Israeli members of youth movements who serve their military service in a special unit that allows them to spend part of the service on a kibbutz, tourists who come to work as volunteers, and people who rent apartments on the kibbutz's premises. In addition to its own members, the kibbutz employs approximately 500 people who live in the vicinity. Revivim operates numerous subsidiaries in various fields including industry, agriculture, commerce and services. Additionally the "in-house" services of
education, culture, health, food, sports, clothing, etc. are provided.
The first years
Kibbutz Revivim began its existence in 1938 as a working unit active in the town of Rishon Le-Zion that included Israelis as well as new immigrants from Germany and Italy. In 1943, the first members were sent by the National administration to the heart of the empty Negev. They were given about 7000 acres, purchased in 1935 by the Keren Kayemet, and asked to explore the possibility of settling in the Negev. For the seven years after its foundation, Revivim was the southernmost Jewish settlement in Israel. Its few members fought thirst and isolation, as well as the Egyptian forces during the 1948 War of Independence.
During the 1950s more people joined the kibbutz, continuing the attempt to settle in the desert. A major turning point occurred in 1955 with the arrival of fresh water in pipes laid fromYerocham. This date marked the end of over a decade in which the adults and the children living in Revivim were drinking brackish water from the local well.
Culture and education have been developed over the years partly in order to ease the isolation brought about by the kibbutz's geographical location. By the 1950s, a community center (named after Eliyahu Golomb) was built and in it a library, a memorial room for those killed in the war, and a reading hall. In 1976 this center became part of the Golda Culture Center that also includes a theater hall that serves the entire region. Later on another wing was added to the center in which the kibbutz archive is now located. An exhibition in memory of Prime Minister Golda Meir, whose daughter Sara was a kibbutz member, is presented there.
The kibbutz's education system instructs children up to the end of high school. Prior to first grade, children attend daycare and kindergarten on the kibbutz's premises. Children in Grades 1 through 8 attend a regional public school called Mashabim, located in the neighboring kibbutz, and older children attend either the Eshel Hanasi high school, located just north of Beer Sheva or Nofey Habsor situated about 4 km from the border with Gaza.
The kibbutz encourages its members to acquire higher education. Younger adults are offered a variety of options to acquire such education. Six libraries are available on the kibbutz itself - a general Hebrew library, a library for children, a reading room (with non-fiction and academic reading material), an English library, a Russian library, and a library for the Ulpan that has books in a variety of languages.
Starting from the beginning of the 1990s, with the aging of kibbutz members, a greater emphasis has been given to services designed for older adults. Some of these services are provided in cooperation with the regional council (e.g., day trips, etc.). During 2008 a community center for senior residents was established. Revivim is a communal kibbutz although its dining room was privatized at the beginning of 2005.
The Revivim Mitzpe
The old dwelling of the first settlers in Revivim was reconstructed with the aid of the Keren Kayemet and other official budgets. The place is now turned into a museum of the first Jewish settlement in the Negev. In 2000 an official stamp dedicated to the Mitzpe was issued.
Agriculture and industry
During the 1940s the first settlers in Revivim were experimenting with different possibilities. They were then busy with the 1948 war and overcoming its effects. Only in the 1950s did they begin to establish a stronger economic infrastructure based on farming, orchards, cows, chickens, and a metal factory. Fresh water arrived for the first time in 1955 and its arrival was celebrated in the Water Festival. Agriculture became modern when fresh water became available for irrigation at the beginning of the 1960s.
Today the kibbutz has over 800 acres of olive trees (run together with a business partner), about 8000 acres of arable farming (run in partnership with several other kibbutzim), a cow shed (run together with the kibbutzim Nir Eliyahu and Kfar Aza) with 800 milking cows, and a chicken coop that hatches 17 million eggs a year. The metal factory (which made wheelbarrows) was closed in 1970 and replaced by a plastic factory, called Raviv. As of 2000, Revivim owns Raviv together with a strategic business partner. On that year, the production of car fuel tank venting systems was separated from Raviv and turned into a factory called Raval. During 2009 Raviv acquired ARKAL, a factory located at kibbutz Bet Zera. In 2004, a strategic partner joined Raval. As of 2007, Raval is traded on the Tel Aviv stock market. Raviv and Raval employ around 400 people.
Revivim encourages business initiatives and enterprises of individuals within it, and these are often developed into small businesses later on. Dozens of members make their living outside the kibbutz, half of them are teachers in schools close by. Revivim's businesses are run as separate subsidiaries separate from the community services.
In 2003 an educational-tourist attraction was opened in Revivim, called Hai Negev. This attraction was built in a unique style to include animals whose native habitat is the Negev. In a little areas set as an African village children can engage in recreational activities. As of 2006, camping arrangements are also available there for
groups and individuals.
Revivim's population increase during the 1970s was due largely to Nahal groups (youth who spend time at the kibbutz as part of their military service) organized by the kibbutz itself. In the 1990s Revivim merged with its neighboring kibbutz - Retamim. Today the main source of population increase is the group of people who were born on the kibbutz and chose to live here as adults, their partners, people who join the kibbutz after living here as residents, new immigrants, and former renters.
May 2013 Adin Kavé