The kibbutz was founded on the communist liberal progressive society of equals that the revolutionaries who toppled the Tsar fought for and the golden age of the kibbutz based on those original dreams was still alive and well in the 50s. The kibbutz was actually the only place in the world where that dream worked as it was supposed to for about 50-60 years ( started in the pre state era ). Back in the 50s there was no internet or 24 hour international media. In the USSR itself the media was controlled by the crooked state not independent sources and then the kibbutznucks didn't even hear all of that because they were in Israel to Russia. The zionists were cut off from the Soviet Union and they lived in the WORKING communist society and their vision of Stalin was the romantic one, of the Soviet hero who hellped defeat the Nazi regime who carried out the Holocaust whose survivors built Israel. Stalin was also the second world leader to support the creation of Israel because he believed that it could be a Soviet satellite state. The Soviet Union had not been arming the arabs or supporting the arabs and their war against Israel in 1953. The kibbutznicks only had the romantic image of Stalin the savior but they never heard about the gulags etc being cur off from Soviet society so they mourned for Stalin. If this was 1953 if they heard on the radio that Assad was fighting terrorists trying to undermine the state they would be rooting for Assad who had been good for Syria and generally liked before the civil war because all they would hear is what he says. We take independent communication like internet and free press for granted so we don't create romantic images of revolutionaries and dictators like Stalin or Assad.
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from the article: 'The USSR is our second homeland,' said one kibbutznik when Stalin died