(English Index)

(Original Index)




Moshav (Hebrew word, plural: moshavim, meaning: settlement, village) is a type of cooperative agricultural community of individual farms pioneered by the Labour Zionists during the second aliyah (1904 – 1914).

The moshavim are similar to kibbutzim with an emphasis on community labour and were designed as part of the Zionist state-building program following the Yishuv ("Jewish settlement", term used in the Zionist movement before the establishment of the State of Israel, referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine. The residents and new settlers were referred to collectively as "the Yishuv". The term came into use in the 1880s) in the British Mandate of Palestine during the 19th Century. But contrary to the collective kibbutzim, farms in a moshav tended to be individually owned but of fixed and equal size.

Workers produced crops and goods on their properties through individual and/or pooled labour and resources and used profit and foodstuffs to provide for themselves. Support of the community was done through a special tax. This tax was equal for all households of the community, thus creating a system where good farmers were better off than bad ones, unlike in the communal kibbutzim where (at least theoretically) all members enjoyed the same living standard. Moshavim are governed by an elected council. Many moshavim still exist today.

Because the moshav form retained the family as the centre of social life and eschewed bold experiments with communal child-rearing, it was much more attractive to traditional Mizrahi immigrants in the 1950s and early 1960s than was the more communally radical kibbutz. For this reason, the kibbutz has remained basically an Ashkenazi institution. On the contrary, the so-called immigrants' moshav was one of the most-used and successful forms of absorption and integration of Oriental immigrants.