Counter-movement

The clash at Hanaton is not just between two local groups, but also between two movements that set out on a common path and 26 years later find themselves on opposite sides of a High Court petition.

The clash at Hanaton is not just between two local groups, but also between two movements that set out on a common path and 26 years later find themselves on opposite sides of a High Court petition. Kibbutz Movement chairman Ze'ev Schor calls the Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed graduates "terrific people." He adds that "the Conservative Movement didn't want to accept them as members. We sent them and we have responsibility toward them. We stand behind them and are doing everything possible to see that they become members of Kibbutz Hanaton. The law will have to find an accord between the two groups." The Masorti/Conservative Movement sees a good deal of hypocrisy in the Kibbutz Movement's position. Yizhar Hess, the movement's executive director, says they "made a tremendous effort to extricate the kibbutz from its crisis, it changed its classification to a Renewed Kibbutz (like a majority of the kibbutzim in the Kibbutz Movement today) and its debts were spread out.

"The members of Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed are fighting in every way possible against the Conservative Movement's attempts to rehabilitate the kibbutz. They live in the place as young, temporary students who are always coming and going, while we've been able to bring 20 young families from the center of the country to the kibbutz, as members of the kibbutz. Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed is dedicated to the idea of a cooperative kibbutz, and the Kibbutz Movement, for internal political reasons, is giving them backing even though most of the movement's members have long been a part of the Renewed Kibbutz model."

Hess points out that the two movements are partners in public struggles for social justice and against discrimination and coercion, but says that "we will not abandon our one and only kibbutz for the sake of this friendship. Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed has many kibbutzim, including some that follow the communal formula. Their faith in the rightness of their way does not make them right, and their slogan - 'You don't expel people from their home' - is especially infuriating. Their cynicism knows no bounds."