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114 SHOFAR Summer 1999 Vol. 17, No.4 Another area of interest to this reader is his discussion of the inherent ideological problems that have emerged as the kibbutz has "gone capitalist." Now a whole series ofcontradictions have emerged. For example, Ben-Rafaelvery correctly notes that there had always been a reluctance to hire workers from the outside to provide farm labor. Now, faced with large landholdings, kibbutzim can no longer only rely on unpaid internal sources of labor. The problems, ideological and practical, that have emerged are not easily dealt with. For perhaps the fIrst time, kibbutzim are now viewed by some as exploiters of the low-paid fIeld laborers hired from nearby towns. The criticism has been intense from both inside and out and creates a good deal of discomfIture among many traditional kibbutzniks. In a later section ofhis work, Ben-Rafael investigates the nature ofchange found within kibbutz society. He notes that rapid and unrestrained change is not characteristic ofall kibbutzim. Pointedly, he fmds that kibbutzim "tend to evolve according to specifIc preferences" rather than resulting from distinct kibbutz styles or political orientations. Fundamentally, it is his view that economic factors have a signifIcant impact on the kibbutz's orientation toward the process ofchange. In conclusion, Ben-Rafael's work represents a major contribution. It is not easily read and suffers from inadequate editing, but it still reflects brilliance and fertile thinking and meticulous reporting and analysis. I fInd no signifIcant omissions. BenRafael has masterfully accomplished what he set out to do, and that is to integrate previous kibbutz studies and update us as to the evolutionary nature of this unique experiment. His statistical reporting and analysis is abundant and clearly presented and permits the reader to grasp some of the more abstract concepts. This work must be a part ofany serious attempt to understand the "modem" Israeli kibbutz as both an agent of change and the result of societal change. Barry L. Duman DepartmentofAccounting, Economics and Finance West Texas A&M University The Founding Myths of Israel, by Zeev Sternhell, translated by David Maisel. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998. 419 pp. $29.95. Paradoxically, Jews forged solidarity as a dispersed community more fully than they have been able to establish an integrative national identity. Fashioning a national selfimage began as a contentious process and has remained to this very day a precipitating cause of fragmentation and alienation. Fighting for sovereignty and then securing it against repeated attacks did not appease the political differences among Jews in Book Reviews 115 Palestine or later in Israel: Jews have accepted the idea of a Jewish state but are still divided over its structure and purpose. The embattled Jewish state has served as a subtext for the events marking Israel's fifty years of statehood. Israelis have many successes to note five decades after their state's establishment, but most have chosen to meditate primarily on its failures. The burdens ofstatehood are heavily borne in Israel, where people seem haunted by a vision of what a Jewish state was supposed to be-the only means of preserving Jewish lives and identity in a rapidly changing world-but could never quite become. Israel has succeeded in preserving the vitality of its economy and polity but has not yet reconciled all Jews on a common ground of culture. From the very founding of the Zionist movement, many idealists sought to bring together socialism and nationalism as the constituents of a new Jewish culture and the very essence of a principle of hope for Jews and justice for humanity. Labor Zionist political parties became a popular movement in the decades following the First World War with the establishment ofthe British Mandate for Palestine in support of a Jewish National Home. These parties controlled significant resources through their unions, agricultural settlements, and an array of ancillary institutions. They won elections in Palestine and at the international level by putting forth the argument that the working class was vital to the construction of a Jewish state. While elaborating an ideology which, to be sure, defended their institutional interests, Labor Zionist leaders also propounded a creed that captured the public's imagination and embodied the central Jewish nation...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 114-117
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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