The kibbutz was, in its own way, a back-to-the-land movement, a way for disconnected young urbanites to renew their souls by reconnecting with the soil. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that kibbutzim have become leaders in the areas of organic farming and environmental technology, as well as eco-education. I saw evidence of this trend especially in the communities in the Arava Desert (Samar, Ketura and Lotan), although I was disappointed to learn that attempts to coordinate a national “green kibbutz movement” have essentially withered on the vine.

A recent Bloomberg article, however, did list a number of interesting kibbutz-based projects and cooperative business ventures in the field of environmental technology, alternative energy and organic farming. And a lot of people with whom I spoke saw promise in such environmental consciousness as a way of renewing the social-political mission of the original kibbutz pioneers.