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ABOUT

25/06/2007
ABOUT
Background on Kibbutz Revivim

Kibbutz Revivim was founded in the summer of 1943. About 800 people live in Revivim today, 350 of them kibbutz members and 220 children. There has been a Hebrew school (Ulpan) for new immigrants in Revivim since 1968, and for the past decade Revivim has also run a project of "First Home" for families of new immigrants. 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 250 people who live in the vicinity. Revivim has a turnover of 120 million NIS, made by 15 subsidiaries in industry, agriculture, commerce, and services. In-house services of education, culture, health, food, sports, clothing, etc. are also provided.


The first years

Kibbutz Revivim began its existence in 1938 as a working unit active in the town of Rishon LeZion 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 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.
During the 1950s more people joined the kibbutz, continuing the attempt to settle in the middle of the desert. A major turning point occurred in 1955 with the arrival of fresh water in pipes laid from the north of Israel. This date marked the end of over a decade in which the adults and the children living in Revivim were drinking salty water from the local well.

The community

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.
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 9 attend a regional public school called Mashabim, located in the neighboring kibbutz, and older children attend the Eshel Hanasi high school, located just north of Beer Sheva.
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.
Services to older adults are provided in cooperation with the regional council (e.g. day trips, etc.). It is important to note that as of 2002 and in contrast to other kibbutzim in Israel, most services available at Revivim are communal rather than privatized.

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.

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. Agriculture became modern when fresh water became available at the beginning of the 1960s.
Today the kibbutz has about 300 acres of olive trees (run together with a business partner), about 7000 acres of farming (run in partnership with several other kibbutzim), a cow shed (run together with kibbutz Nir Eliyahu), and a chicken coop that hatches 12 million eggs a year. The metal factory (which made wheelbarrows) was closed in 1970 and replaced by a plastic factory. This plastic factory, called Raviv, currently employs 230 people and does plastic injection as a subcontractor in addition to car Fuel Tank venting systems. As of 2000, Revivim owns Raviv together with a strategic business partner.
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 attended by the kibbutz children. Revivim's businesses are run as separate subsidiaries, apart from the community services.

Demography

Revivim's population increase during the 1970s was due largely to Nahal groups (youth that 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, and new immigrants (mostly from the former Soviet Union).
At the beginning of third millenium Kibbutz Revivim looks forward with strength. Its demographic make-up is well balanced and its economic infrastructure is wide and diverse. Members are well aware of being part of Israel and the world at large and are ready for the many social and financial challenges presented by contemporary times.

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