Working On A Kibbutz

Well if you fancy a working holiday where you get free accommodation, free meals, and free pocket money then working on a kibbutz in Israel is right for you just as it has been for thousands before you.

To work on a kibbutz you should be aged between 18 and 32, physically and mentally fit. You will need references, a medical certificate and a special entry visa. Kibbutz members will not accept pregnant women, or families with young children.

The first Kibbutz was set up in 1909 and since then there are literally hundreds scattered around Israel. Kibbutz are rural communities where work, income and property are shared by its members and were set up in an attempt to avoid exploitation without the need to accumulate individual wealth.

Kibbutz life entails life as a volunteer experiencing a communal sort of lifestyle with other young people from all over the world. Jobs can include working in the fields to tourism and teaching.

Kibbutz members generally work within their community in agriculture, light industry, and the service areas, which include tourism, education, and landscaping. The daily work schedule is organised by the work co-ordinator, according to the needs of the kibbutz and each member's long-term work placement.

There are opportunities to live and work on a kibbutz for a few weeks, although some have a minimum of 8 weeks up to generally a maximum of 3 months, but for some you can stay for much longer. Work on a kibbutz isn't easy - you will be expected to work as hard as the kibbutz members which means 6.5 to 8 hours per day (work normally starts early at about 5am, so that you are finished before the day gets too hot), and for 6 days of the week, Saturdays are free and you will get 2 days off at the end of the month. Normally, kibbutz volunteers are taken on a three-day trip every three or four months, paid for by the kibbutz. Places can include Eilat, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, depending on the Kibbutz and area you choose.

The kibbutz volunteers' rooms are pretty sparse with generally a bed with a sheet, table, chair and a small wardrobe. The windows may not be covered with curtains and the walls may have graffiti on them. But to be honest you will probably spend very little time in your room, except for sleeping, parties and a little privacy sometimes.

When you start at a kibbutz you won't have a choice of what job you can do but most new volunteers start in the dining room or kitchen areas. At least tea and coffee is on tap!

You don't need to worry about ruining any of your own clothes while working since the kibbutz will provide you with free working clothes, boots and a laundry service.

What facilities are available on a Kibbutz

You will be expected to work hard but everything is free and most kibbutz also have a swimming pool, tennis courts, gymnasium and some even provide free alcohol once a week. The bar/pub on site will charge for the rest of the week. You will receive a small amount of 'pocket money' and this can be used for the beer which is cheap and plentiful. Certain basic toiletries including condoms and airmail letters are provided free.