Friday, December 07, 2007
Rusty Utopia in Givat Brenner
Kibbutz Givat Brenner has double - hydraulic and permitting - problem so the Israeli Water Engineer has a job. The kibbutz was founded in 1928 and became the largest of Israel (and the world) with thousands of members. Today I saw very old people in electric wheelchairs encapsulated in transparent polyvinyl driving around in the rain, and empty, rusting, cowsheds (lower pic), and a central dining room falling apart (upper pics. The brown liquid in the tank is caustic soda solution used for degreasing dishes and cutlery. It is called "the submarine" - HaTzolelet. I told them to throw it out immediately and to purchase a restaurant dishwasher.) The members act hurt, angry, offended, with raw nerves, what we used to call "culito paspado". "It is Friday and I finished my work for today", "I work from 7 to 4 five times a week" I overheard. no more socialism, communism, voluntarism, stachanovism here. The kibbutz cooks only 300 meals a day, mainly for the elderly and the kindergarten, and communal meals are history. The kibbutz, once in a desert, finds itself in a suburb, and sells plots for building (the black boxes in the pic are the fortified rooms that form the nucleus of each Israeli home). The heroic past is dissolving in silent tragedies of people living out their last years in poverty and broken dreams. We wanted to go to live in a kibbutz after marriage, and they offered to take us with the condition of not having children, because they were not ready to supply quarters and education for children. Kibbutzim were very anti-children, their ideal member was a new Jew totally dedicated to the movement. An unacknowledged fact of the kibbutz life is that only old, established, elite member's children were more or less suffered. I have a ambiguous feeling regarding kibbutzim. Anyway, that kibbutz is no more and all there is villages like Givat Brenner with their rusty and leaking water and waste water infrastructure.