Kibbutz Program



17-18 November, 2011


Photos & text: Lydia Aisenberg


Over 40 young people from many different countries presently living and working on kibbutzim from Baram on the northern border with Lebanon to Yotvata near Eilat participated in an overnight seminar for kibbutz volunteers at the Givat Haviva Wadi Ara campus.

The program, the fifth seminar of its kind to be organized by the Kibbutz Programs Center in conjunction with Givat Haviva’s International Department and with the support of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, covers a number of important topics including the subject of kibbutz; Israeli Society and Current Affairs; aspects of the Holocaust and the opportunity to hear the personal story of a Polish born Holocaust survivor.

On a lighter note, the volunteers also spent an evening learning Israeli dancing and undertook a tour of the Wadi Ara-Dotan Valley region incorporating visiting the controversial town of Harish; travelling a section of the security fence in the area and visiting the Katzir observation platform on the Amir mountain range to take in the view of the area they had travelled down below.

The volunteers valued the opportunity of being able to participate in such a learning experience and the majority wished that it could have been for a longer period of time as difficult to absorb so much of what they considered important information in such a short seminar.

“I feel I now have a better understanding of so much I had heard but not really connected to up until now.  I feel I will be able to ask questions of the people I work with when I go back to the kibbutz after this seminar as I always hesitated to ask in case I sounded stupid,” summarized one of the volunteers at the end of the seminar

Volunteers visiting an exhibition of pre-Holocaust life in a predominantly Jewish town in Poland showing in the opened in recent years museum at Moreshet, the Mordechai Anielewicz Memorial Holocaust Study and Research Center at Givat Haviva

Aya Sagi, director of the Kibbutz Programs Center with Polish born Holocaust survivor Moshe Schwartz who shared his personal story of survival with the kibbutz volunteers

During a discussion on flags and national anthems, 3 volunteers from South Africa sing their four-language national anthem for the other volunteers and left: a Columbian volunteer draws the Israeli flag


Out and about as the weather begins to threaten more rain, kibbutz volunteers with maps in hand study the geography and topography of the Dotan Valley from the Harish border police base