Kibbutz: Utopia and Politics. The Life and Times of Meir Yaari, 1897–1987

Kibbutz: Utopia and Politics. The Life and Times of Meir Yaari, 1897–1987


Aviva Halamish
Translated from the Hebrew by Lenn Schramm

Series: Israel: Society, Culture and History
ISBN: 9781618116246 (hardcover)
Pages: approx. 500 pp.
Publication Date: July 2017


Meir Yaari (1897-1987) was the leader of Hashomer Hatza’ir, a movement which took an active part in shaping the history of the Jewish people in the crucial decades of the twentieth century. Its Kibbutzim had a leading role in matters of aliyah, settlement, and defense in mandatory Palestine and then independent Israel, and its members were among the organizers of Jewish resistance and revolt during the Holocaust. This biography discusses pivotal issues in the history of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, such as the friction between Zionism and socialism, the Arab question, the absorption of new immigrants, and generation gaps and conflicts. The book blends individual and collective perspectives and never loses sight of the tension between ideology and reality.

Aviva Halamish is Historian at the Open University of Israel, specializing in the history of the Jewish people and of Palestine in the twentieth century, focusing on Jewish immigration, the kibbutz, and historical biography. She has authored or edited over a dozen books. Halamish is a member of Israel's Council for Higher Education.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Reisha
Chapter 2: Vienna
Chapter 3: Bitaniyya Illit
Chapter 4: Founding a Kibbutz Movement
Chapter 5: A Wife and Helpmate
Chapter 6: Ideological Collectivism
Chapter 7: Facing the Catastrophe
Chapter 8: Facing the Forces of Tomorrow
Chapter 9: A Gaping Abyss
Chapter 10: Against the Current
Chapter 11: From Military Glory to Marking Time in the Opposition
Chapter 12: Unrequited Love
Chapter 13: In the Shadow of Big Brother
Chapter 14: The Kibbutz during the Transition from Yishuv to State
Chapter 15: For Zionism, for Socialism, for the Brotherhood of the Nations—and in That Order
Chapter 16: Fractured Beliefs
Chapter 17: The Rebellion of the Sons
Chapter 18: A Dove with Folded Wings
Chapter 19: Twilight
Chapter 20: Epilogue