National Geographic : 1965 Dec
Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught LUKE 5:4 Like Simon, James, and John, men of modern Galilee fish at night with lights and seines. Gas lamps (left) have replaced torches, and winches rather than muscles operate the nets (opposite). But Galilean fisher men still set their nets in circles around lights to enclose fish drawn to the glow. And neither the face of the sea nor the look of the land has changed. Baratz, wrote that "growing things ... had for us a meaning which was related to the whole of human life.... We would have among us neither masters nor paid servants. Neither lacking nor possessing anything, we hoped to live a just, peaceful and productive life." Baratz's hope has been realized. From a poisonous strip of swamp surrounded by des ert, a place where "there were no trees, only burnt grass and a few shrubs [and] the air buzzed with mosquitoes," the Jordan Valley has been transformed into a tapestry of fields, groves, fish ponds, and plantations. Even the winding stream is half hidden by the eucalyp tus trees planted to dry out its shores. I went into Deganya to seek out Baratz. He sat alone in his shadowy room, an old man and tired, wonderfully courteous but with little English. He sent me soon to his son-in law, Avraham Shapiro, a young New Yorker with a law degree. We sat outside his little house-two rooms and a bath, with a hot plate and a small refrigerator-and talked in the dappled shade. "I came here eight years ago. And I almost gave up. I knew the principles of kibbutz life: from each according to his ability; to each ac cording to his need. I knew that no one owns anything and everyone owns everything. I knew about the love of labor on the land. "But field work wasn't for me, so I drifted from job to job, a trained man not using his training, until I became active in the financial side of kibbutz life." His wife Yona, dark and serene, brought tea and cake. "Of course it was difficult," she 860 said. "I was born here, I'm part of it, I love it. But it's true, kibbutz life isn't natural. In some kibbutzim, women do give up their babies to the care of others. Men do give up the right to make their own decisions. All of us do give up wealth and valuable possessions. It was the only way to build this country, but we never thought it was the only way people should live. It's not good for everyone." "I got used to it," Shapiro said, "or rather, I became part of it. There are great advantages along with the limitations; complete equality, too. There's no boss here, no one bigger or better or more powerful than anyone else, no one who has to be deferred to. Most important of all, there's a sense of community such as one can find nowhere else in the world. But kibbutz life really calls for an intellectual de cision on the part of each member. "There are other cooperatives which are less extreme than ours: the moshvei ovdim. Very popular, too. The first was set up by Deganya people who left to try a different way of life. It's called Nahalal, over near Nazareth. Do you know it?" HAD visited Nahalal, a fascinating round town from whose central circle of 75 houses 75 strips of land radiate outward like slender slices of pie. The farmers buy and sell cooperatively, but they work their own farms as they see fit, own whatever they can afford, eat at home instead of in a communal hall, and keep their children with them. "Yes, I've seen Nahalal," I said. "Seems like a fine village."