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January 29, 2019 11:20 am

Once Socialist, Israel’s Kibbutzim Poured Nearly $30 Million Into Local Startups in 2018

avatar by Meir Orbach and Tofi Stoler / CTech

Kibbutz Sa’ad. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

CTech – Israeli Kibbutzim, formerly socialist rural communes, have invested NIS 110 million (approximately $29.9 million) in Israeli startups in 2018, a 45 percent rise compared with the year before, according to data released Sunday by the Kibbutz Industries Association (KIA).

According to the data, a total of 34 investments were made by 25 kibbutzim through Hamashtela, a fund dedicated to promoting technology and innovation in kibbutzim, which is operated by KIA and the Kibbutz Movement, an umbrella organization for kibbutzim.

Initially founded in the early 1900s as communal agricultural settlements, the kibbutzim have undergone vast privatization processes over the past few decades. Replacing their original socialist values with the bottom line, many kibbutzim have also swapped agriculture for industrial factories and real estate deals. Some even went as far as converting their mess halls, once the beating heart of the community, into shared-working spaces for startups and tech companies.

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