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collective village, based on agriculture, in israel.

The moshav (plural, moshavim) is a collective village, of which there were 410 in 1991 with a combined population of 152,500. The collective provides agricultural inputs and marketing services to the families living there and the various moshav movements have national and regional organizations to provide these services. Land on the moshav is divided between the member families. In the early years, hired labor was banned and communal cultivation of some land prevailed. This changed in the 1960s and 1970s when Arab labor became an important part of the economy of many moshavim. The moshavim have their own bank, savings and pension schemes, insurance company, and regional purchasing organizations.

The foundations of the moshav go back to 1919, when Eliezer Yaffe published a pamphlet suggesting the creation of moshavim on nationally owned land, with mutual aid, cooperative purchasing and marketing, and the family as the basic unit. Like the kibbutz, the moshav was to be a pioneering institution, emphasizing national and social rejuvenation for the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. The first moshav was founded at Merhavia in the Galilee. Yaffe's ideas were influential in the founding of the second moshav, Nahalal, in 1921, the model for future settlements of this kind. Between 1949 and 1956, 250 moshavim were set up to house and provide employment for immigrants mainly from North Africa and Asia, who were not attracted to the communal life of the kibbutz, but for whom agriculture was the only possible basis for employment. By 1970 the moshavim had a population of 100,000. They had, in terms of numbers of settlements and total population, become more important than the kibbutzim.

During the 1980s, many of the moshav move-ment's economic organizations, responsible for marketing and purchasing inputs, went bankrupt as a result of overexpansion and high interest rates. Many moshavim were badly affected, and the mutual guarantee, by which each member or family supported other members, fell into disfavor. During the 1980s, an increasing number of urban families moved to moshavim; they commute to towns and are not involved in agriculture.

Members of each moshav elect a management committee that organizes the provision of economic services as well as education and health services to the community. The moshavim are also affiliated with different political parties, the largest moshav is affiliated with the Labor Party. Others are affiliated to religious parties.

The moshav shitufi is a moshav with many of the characteristics of the kibbutz. In 1991 there were 46 moshav shitufi with a total population of 12,600. Production is organized communally and members' work is determined by an elected committee. Consumption is private, with families eating at home and providing their own domestic services, as on other moshavim and in contrast to the kibbutzim.

see also israel: political parties in; kibbutz; nahalal.


Eisenstadt, Shmuel Noah. Israeli Society. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson; New York: Basic, 1967.

Viteles, H. A History of the Co-operative Movement in Israel, Vol. 4: The Moshav Movement. London: Vallentine, Mitchell, 1968.

paul rivlin

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