"We are all travellers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend".
IF YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN TO THE KIBBUTZ AND WOULD LIKE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS AMAZING PROGRAMME, READ BELOW.
To read first hand what a kibbutz is like in 2012, download this excerpt from the Kibbutz Volunteers Program Center's newsletter – 10 May 2012 - CLICK HERE to download.
Here at YDP, we can make your dream of travelling a reality. A few years back, working on a Kibbutz as a volunteer was the thing to do. However, due to more "financially lucrative" travel opportunities for South Africans, the demand to work on a Kibbutz has weakened. Safety is also always a concern, however once on a Kibbutz or Moshav, you will be far away from any troubles and you will undoubtedly have an amazing and memorable time in the land of milk and honey. To read more about Safety in Israel :
Is it Safe?
Yes, very! However the threat of terrorism and conflict is something that the Israelis have to deal with on a daily basis. It is highly unlikely you will experience any dangerous situations as long as you follow local advice about where and where not to travel. Israel lives in a type of siege mentality. You'll see armed soldiers everywhere. You may be alarmed by this at first but you'll soon get used to it. Security is very important all over Israel including the kibbutzim.
Despite ongoing efforts by various world leaders, the situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories remains volatile and at times dangerous. Do be aware that the blue lights atop police cars are always on. While driving in Israel, don't pull over if the police car behind you is just flashing its lights-the siren is the real warning to heed. Don't be alarmed at the number of soldiers carrying weapons throughout Israel as it is compulsory for men and women to join the army for between 2 and 3 years You can discuss politics with both Arabs and Jews, but don't enter such conversations lightly, and don't be intentionally antagonistic-almost all residents have been personally touched by tragedy related to the conflict, and emotions are close to the surface. It is always recommended to carry your passport with you at all times.
When you arrive at your kibbutz you may be surprised by the perimeter fence and watchtowers. They're there to keep terrorists out, not you in! There are bomb shelters throughout Israel, and more often than none, they are used for holding parties or discos. Before you arrive in Israel you'll get the pleasure of being quizzed by Israeli security staff at the airport or port of departure. Don't consider making flippant remarks along the lines of "oh yeah, the bombs in my other bag." If you do, you'll find they won't share your sense of humour. Basically because of the prevalence of soldiers and vigilant civilians Israel is safe to travel in and visit. A word of warning though: don't change money on the streets no matter how good the vendor's rate of exchange may be, you're sure to get ripped off. You're advised to only use registered taxis because unlicensed ones may rip you off, beat you, steal from you, or worse. You might be offered some dope in the old city of Jerusalem. Don't even be tempted. Often the police have paid these guys so they can catch you in the act. There are still stiff penalties for soft drugs possession and use. However, crime is relatively low.
Whilst you are on your Kibbutz or Moshav, you will generally be very safe, as most Moshav's and Kibbutzim's are situated away from the cities and towns, and are found in the countryside so you should not be affected by the ongoing troubles. It is a very sad state of affairs as Israel and the Palestinian Territories is a beautiful part of the world, and is a must on anyone's "to do" list. Let's hope that all will be resolved amicably in the very near future and peace will prevail.
If anything should happen to you while overseas, like breaking a leg, you could be covered by our medical insurance cover, which will ensure that you are covered for any medical expense of up to R1 million. Feel assured that you'll be taken care of should anything unforeseen happen while you are traveling.
The Kibbutz and Moshav programmes are valid for 3-6 months, and enables successful applicants to gain a better understanding of the Kibbutz and Moshav way of life, whilst working as a volunteer. You will return to South Africa with a greater general knowledge and understanding of other religions and how other parts of the world live and operate. You will undoubtedly return to your home country a more mature and independent individual, with life long memories and many international friends.
The land of milk & honey, however, these days all you get to see and hear about Israel is bad, and in certian circumstances it certainly is. Every country in the world has their own problems (like the crime in SA and the recent the power cirsis). However, Israel has so much to offer, especially when you get right up close and personal with the Israelis by working and sharing their closely nit community by means of working on a Kibbutz or Moshav.
For more info on volunteering on a kibbutz:
What is it?
Young people generally decide to venture into kibbutz life as a volunteer for all sorts of reasons; to experience a communal lifestyle; to be able to spend some time in Israel; to meet young backpackers from all over the world, to have a complete change from one's previous situation or just to have the opportunity to work outside in the fields, picking fruit or milking cows.
A Kibbutz is a village community in which all property and means of production are shared by the members. About 3% of Israel's population of three & a half million people live in Kibbutzim. As a volunteer you will be invited to join in many of the Kibbutz social events and can expect to receive most of the benefits of the members way of life. You are usually accommodated in single sex dormitories of between 2 and 6 beds, you will receive three healthy meals a day taken in the communal dining room. You will normally work 6 - 8 hours per day and 6 days a week, with 2 to 3 extra days off a month. On most Kibbutzim, volunteers are paid pocket money which can vary between $50 to $150 per month. You may also be provided with free internet access, work clothing and sometime even the legendary "Funny-Money". The more pocket money you receive the less "perks" and visa versa. Please remember this is not a work programme, but rather a volunteer programme whereby in return for your labour you will be provided free food and accommodation, and a little pocket money.
A Kibbutz is a communal agricultural settlement in Israel, usually in a rural location.The "members" of the kibbutz are known as kibbutzniks. All property on the kibbutz is owned communally and all income generated is shared by the kibbutz. Some kibbutzim also have factories that produce anything from plastics to sprinkler parts. Meals are prepared in a communal kitchen and eaten in a communal dining room. The plural of kibbutz is kibbutzim. Kibbutzim need volunteers because basically there are more jobs to do on a kibbutz than there are people to do them. Also Israel has a very demanding national service policy so there are often times when lots of men or women have to leave the kibbutz to do their national or reserve service. The members of the kibbutz fill these gaps but it still leaves a lot of vacancies in other jobs.
Certainly the different reasons are reflected in the attitudes and expectations of the volunteers towards the kibbutz. Some volunteers really work hard and try to participate in many events, whilst others are more laid -back and are not really interested in learning about the lifestyle on Kibbutz. Before you make a final decision about going to a Kibbutz in Israel, you should be aware of some of the basic problems that you are going to face there and the commitments you must live up to. There is no need to elaborate on the wonderful aspects of Kibbutz life - these aspects can be found very easily by reading or, better still, by personal experience. It is much more important to prepare you for the some of the aspects of re-adjustment, rather than just paint a rosy picture
For more info on working on a Moshav:
What is it?
If you are prepared to work harder and for an individual Moshav family, then maybe try working on a Moshav. This is more like a real job. A Moshav is a farming community comprising individual, privately owned farms, where families work within a separate co-operative framework. About 40 % of all food consumed by Israeli's is produced by Moshavism.
Each volunteer is appointed to a family where you must stay for a minimum of 2 months. A volunteer will receive free lodging which is separate from the family and will have access to cooking facilities. You will work 8 hours per day and 6 days per week with 1 extra day off per month. A volunteer will be paid approximately $320-00 per month.
There are about 80 Moshavim (that's the plural of 'Moshav') all over the country, from the Galilee in the North to Arava in the South.
Basically, religion, politics, passion, history, social injustice and a standing army are not the ideal ingredients for a 'get away from it all' holiday. But these are the things that draw thousands of visitors to Israel every year. This is 'where it happened,' a land that grips at the imagination of every Christian, Jew and Muslim in the world, and inflames a fair few of them as well. It's the intangibles of Israel - standing in the footsteps of gods, breathing the air of the Messiah - that bring people here, and it's the very intangibility of them that leaves so many visitors disappointed. Anyone expecting profound moments of epiphany brought on by immersion in the refined air of the holy land is in for a shock. Israel is a bustling, smelly, noisy, modern country, just as capable of squeezing a tacky tourist buck out of the sacred as any US bible-belt town.
If you come to Israel without preconceptions, you are far more likely to leave with happy memories. Sure, Israel's history and religious links are vital parts of its appeal, but they are not the be-all and end-all; Israel is more than a powder-keg or a promised land. Take time to visit the new, cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv, dive the Red Sea at Eilat, explore some of the country's thriving national parks and float for hours in the salty stillness of the Dead Sea. If you want to understand Israel, take the time to look beyond the larger-than-life figures of the past and have a chat to your bus driver or Kibbutzniks.
Due to the sensitivity on past and current events in Israel, no matter what you call this part of the world, you're bound to offend someone. We've decided to go with Israel & the Palestinian Territories, but that takes a really long time to type and can be confusing for some, so at times we will just say Israel. By that, we mean the area which includes the state of Israel as well as the disputed areas of the West Bank, Golan Heights and Gaza Strip.
At times, Israel can seem like a country obsessed by spirituality. In Jerusalem, you may hear the Muslim call to prayer competing with the clanging of bells from Christian churches and the prayers of Jews bobbing before the Western Wall. In other parts of the country, you'll find yourself walking in the exact places where the events of the Bible unfolded. Everywhere you turn, you'll see reminders of the three religions-Islam, Judaism and Christianity-that have shaped this part of the world.
You'll also see evidence of the conflicts that continue to plague the region, many of them at least partly based on religion. Relations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian population of the region are never less than turbulent, although efforts in finalizing a peace process are always underway.