Settlement of the Zevulun Valley –The gate to the Western Galilee
During the thirties of the 20th century, young Jewish Zionist pioneers from the mountains of Czechoslovakia had a dream and made “Aliya”. They wanted to establish a Kibbutz, a collective agriculture farm in the new independent and free state of the Jewish people in the land of Israel. A state which would be democratic, just and fair, based on the fundamental humanitarian values of the Jewish faith. A kibbutz was a new way of life, in a new country, where people share together what they have on an equal base. They were part of the Hashomer Hazair, a Zionist and Socialist youth movment of thousands of young people from all over Europe.
After coming to Israel (Palestine at the time), the local authorities and the JNF could not give them suitable agricultural land. Whilst living for a few years near Haifa and working as porters in the Haifa port, they continued to demand and fight for their own settlement and land. The JNF owned land in the Zevulun valley, but there were only swamps and sea sand which were occupied temporarily by Bedouin Arabs. As the needs and pressure of these young people were strong, the Kibbutz movement leadership developed a new and original idea; that where there is not enough agricultural land, industry could be developed instead or in addition. The idea was to find the knowhow, experience and money of the Jewish older generation that were running away from Europe, (also from Czechoslovakia where these young people came from), that could join forces with these young Zionist and fulfill a common dream. The idea was to change the national disaster into a success story that would be part of the building and development of the new State in Israel.
It was the first time that industry was considered to be added as an important factor to the economic base of the kibbutzim, which was until then an idealistic agriculture way of life. It was a dilemma if industry with foreign capital can fit the values of the kibbutz way of life. The idea came after understanding that the land of Israel was and still is limited and that if you want Israel to become the home for all of the Jewish people, you must take advantage of the creativity you can find in industry which is unlimited. The story tells about Dr. Chaim Weizmann meeting with Mordechai Shenavi from the kibbutz movement at Carlsbad in Czechia. Mordechai described the idea of adding the industry to the Kibbutz way of life and Dr. Chaim Weizmann was very impressed and offered his help.
On the 29 of November 1938, with the help of the JNF and the other settlement authorities, the group of these young people formed a new settlement with “A wall and tower” on the sands near Akko, near the delta of the Naama river. A camp was formed around the two factories which were built on the sand, near the sea, as a JV between Jewish knowhow and money, with the Kibbutzim movement as partners and with our kibbutz having a leading role. 16 month later, on 14th of March 1940, the kibbutz moved to its final place, 1 km to the east. The kibbutz’s name was finally chosen to be named after the first president of the Czechoslovakia Republic- T.G. Masaryk, who had just died, to promote the ties between the Jews of Czechoslovakian Republic and the kibbutz. One factory was to manufacture red bricks from the heavy red soil of the Naaman swamps and the sea sand where it was built. The other factory was to manufacture Asphalt and paints.
Both of these factories were an important factor in helping to build the new state of Israel and also helped the British efforts during World War Two.
During these first years of the kibbutz, the JNF, the national Jewish Agency and with the help of the local British officials, started to dry the swamps from the water sources of the Naaman river. They dogged a new river path for the Naaman river and dried the swamps. The new born Kibbutz developed the Industry and agriculture side by side and these two showed that it can be done successfully. Nowadays, nearly all of the kibbutzim have an industry and most of the kibbutzim income and profit come from the industrial part. Since those days, the Zevulun valley has become one of the most prosperous valleys in Israel and the Haifa Bay and the Western Galilee has also become the base for many big and successful Israeli industries such as RAFAEL, the military industry and Iscar, one of the biggest and most successful companies in Israel.
As of today, Kibbutz Kfar Masaryk also, has well-established industries, from the High-Tech Silora R&D which develops computers & multimedia to the Ducart Group which produces paperboard packaging including a JV (50%\50%) with Evergreen USA, a big American company.
It is a great story to tell, show and teach, about a dream that become a reality. About the kibbutz way of life, how it began and how it had changed during the years. How swamps become good agriculture land and how these two main factors of farming and industries have become the base for all the kibbutzim in Israel and also as a base for the development of the modern state of Israel.
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