In first person… Manufacturing changes landscape of kibbutz, an agricultural outpost in Israel of

I went to Israel in 1960, and lived on Kibbutz Gesher Haziv for 10 months at age 17. The kibbutz had little landscaping, and was covered with weeds. The housing was small one-room houses for singles and two-room houses for couples. The main work and income of the kibbutz was agricultural. This included raising turkeys, chickens, a large banana plantation, cotton, oranges, beets and potatoes.

I went back to Gesher Haziv in 1987, 27 years later. The kibbutz was beautifully laid out, with large trees, the paths between buildings even and lined with rock or flowers. The dining hall was sophisticated. No more wooden tables and benches. Instead I found a variety of table sizes and shapes with nice chairs. The members' houses were lovely, though still small two-story buildings, with patios covered with many potted plants.

Inside each home there were telephones as well as computers and printers. The work had shifted from agriculture to manufacturing. Instead of oranges, turkeys and bananas, there was a factory manufacturing a type of baby table that converts to a jungle gym. Another large enterprise was a hotel and restaurant.

It was such a pleasant surprise for me to find this rough kibbutz of the '60s had continued to grow into an elegant and modern place and would continue to grow and develop and evolve to keep up with the world. I felt proud, and at the same time sad that I hadn't been present to witness all its changes.