How Kibbutzim Succeeded Despite the Laws of Economics

In the early 20th century, socialist Zionist zeal inspired Jewish pioneers in the Land of Israel to form collective farms known as kibbutzim. In them all property was held in common, children were raised communally, and the maxim “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was strictly observed. Economic theory would seem to suggest that kibbutzim would fail, but they did not. And although no more than a small proportion of Israelis lived in them at any given time, although many have switched from agricultural pursuits to industry and high-tech, and although they have abandoned the most radical forms of collectivism, they continue to thrive and have played a major role in Israeli society. The economists Ran Abramitzky and Russell Roberts discuss the kibbutz’s history and the reasons for its success. (Audio, 67 minutes.)

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More about: Economics, History & Ideas, Israeli economy, Israeli history, Kibbutz movement, Socialism

 

Understanding the Background of the White House Ruling on Anti-Semitism and the Civil Rights Act

Dec. 13 2019

On Wednesday, the president signed an executive order allowing federal officials to extend the protections of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to Jews. (The order, promptly condemned for classifying Jews as a separate nationality, did nothing of the sort.) In 2010, Kenneth Marcus called for precisely such a ruling in the pages of Commentary, citing in particular the Department of Education’s lax response to a series of incidents at the University of California at Irvine, where, among much elase, Jewish property was vandalized and Jewish students were pelted with rocks, called “dirty Jew” and other epithets, and were told, “Jewish students are the plague of mankind.”

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, U.S. Politics