Our monthly Shishi Zioni (Zionism Friday) study day took us to Kibbutz Hatzerim in the northwest Negev.
On the walking tour our group was lucky to see the nursery school children going outside to enjoy the warm winter day.
The kids are so cute!
And they have such a good life--well, at least they do when rockets are not being fired at them from the nearby Gaza Strip, as happened in 2014 during the 50-day conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Behind the olive trees you see some of the simple older housing for the kibbutzniks.
Hatzerim was begun from nothing, from barren desert, on October 6, 1946.
So as a 70-year-old kibbutz, its population is multi-generational.
The 18-year-old Scouts, 5 girls and 30 boys, who were sent here in '46 as a pioneering group persevered through very hard conditions and are today the grandparents of a highly successful kibbutz.
Living here are 470 members (chaverim) and 300 children (up to age 18).
And so many of the post-army sons and daughters want to return that there is a waiting list for new houses being built.
Hatzerim is one of the few kibbutzim that has resisted privatization; life is still communal, egalitarian, and democratic. And with lots of idealism.
They still eat all meals together in the big dining room.
There is a big dairy cow shed and also falcha (field crops), but the really huge success stories are the Netafim drip irrigation factory and the jojoba plantation that produces quality oil for cosmetics.
More about those two in the coming blog posts.
Their website has a page in English with good information and vintage photos.