The moshav in Israel: Agricultural communities in a process of change — a current view

M. Sofer, L. Appelbaum

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The moshav is a planned smallholders' settlement, based on unique structural principles, including equal-sized indivisible family farms and a legal cooperative organization. A review of the moshav restructuring process reveals a number of trends which together have contributed to the weakening of these principles. While agriculture still dominates the landscape and constitutes an important part of the moshav economy, new on- and off-farm economic activities are replacing farming as main sources of household income. In addition, new residents, mostly of urban origin, have been settling in the moshav in the last two decades in search of a better quality of life, and have changed the socio-demographic composition of the local population. Concomitantly, the cooperative society of the moshav has been losing many of its functions, part of which has been taken over by a new municipal organization. The driving forces of these changes derive from a mixture of structural changes in agriculture, shifting government policies concerning the rural sector, the appearance of new interest groups competing for the use of rural resources, and the cumulative decisions of individual households in search of effective adjustment strategies in an uncertain environment. The outcome is a more heterogeneous community — physically, economically and socially, and more significantly — a gradual loss of the unique features of the moshav. Furthermore, the moshav, and the rural space in general, are being contested by farmers and non-farmers, rural and urban municipalities, and other interest groups. The absence of a coherent and unified rural policy, designed to resolve the conflicts which threaten its ability to survive as a unique type of community and to guide its future development, is perhaps the most serious problem facing the moshav today.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-209
Number of pages16
JournalHorizons In Geography
StatePublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

An earlier Hebrew version appeared in: "אופקים בגאוגרפיה" 59 (תשסד) 36-60

RAMBI Publications

  • RAMBI Publications
  • Moshavim -- Economic aspects
  • Agriculture -- Eretz Israel
  • Israel -- Economic conditions


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