• Rebecca Fox

Degania Alef – The First Kibbutz

Before the towering city of Tel Aviv, the early pioneers of Israel started from the ground up. The very first kibbutz, Degania Alef, was founded in 1910. The early settlers came with one thought on their minds – how do we establish a successful way of life in this new land?

קיבוץ דגניה א, Historical Image of Degania Elementary School (1), CC BY-SA 3.0

The idea of the kibbutz lifestyle was to connect passionate Zionism with sustainable and communal living. The main goal being was to form a successful community centered around agriculture.


Seven halutzim (pioneers) on the Second Aliyah founded Degania, and moved away shortly after, leaving room for a new group of settlers, the Hadera Commune, to come.


Yitzhak Ben-Yaakov was one of the members. He made Aliyah with a dream that he brought to life. He had previously worked in agriculture but truly showcased his talents and innovation in Degania.


קיבוץ דגניה א, Historical Image of Degania Elementary School (8), CC BY-SA 3.0

There, he helped found many effective agricultural initiatives in Israel – including irrigating the Jordan Valley. His many successes were centered around Degania – he said,

“Everything I do, I do as an agent of the public”

He even founded an airline company that trained pilots for transport and security needs.

Degania itself paved the way for idyllic kibbutzim—with an emphasis on equality, freedom, education, and thriving cultural life.

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