|Kfar Yehezkel - Moshav Ovdim (a workers cooperative settlement) Its foundation was accompanied with political and partisan struggles. This form of settlement differed from the Kibbutz which was more popular in those days.
מושב אחדות העבודה The idea of Moshav Ovdim appealed to the Second Aliyah memebers of Ahdut HaAvoda, although the Kibbutz, as a form of settlement, was the more preferred one at the time.
The first attempt to settle the lands of Hamra in 1919 failed. The settlers had to evacuate the place after three months, due to poor security conditions and due to riots in the area around.
The settlers moved to Tel Adas in Emek Izrael, but refused to turn it into a permanent settlement, as they claimed for water shortage which disabled any required intensive agriculture. They also rejected the option to settle the lands of Yajur which in their opinion, was too close to Haifa.
In 1922, the settlement of Gush Norris at the Harod Valley was confirmed.
Kfar Yehezkel was founded by the Second Aliyah settlers from Tel Hai and Hamra, those who were evacuated because of Arab attacks.
Originally the settlement was named Ein Tib'un after the nearby spring. Sixty families were intended to settle in The Moshav. A hundred dunams (unit for measuring land area, about 1/4 acre) was designated per each household, but the fact was that only 5,100 dunams altogether were available for the whole population.
At the fourth Ahdut HaAvoda congress in 1924 the tension among the various parties was extremely high, but then at the fifth congress the atmosphere changed to a more relaxed. Ahdut HaAvoda realized that Kfar Yehezkel had the right to exist. Still the members of The Moshav had to prove again and again their loyalty to the party. They felt lonely as their relationship with the members of Nahalal, the first Moshav, were unstable and as a matter of fact they were rivals and not partners.
The Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, commonly known as PICA played a major
role in supporting the agricultural settlements. Dryland farming (Falcha) was the main activity in the colonies (Moshavot). Sejera Estate focused on vineyards and olives. Almonds and olives were planted in Poria. All this was in un irrigated land, as irrigation has not yet been common those days.
At the end of 1910 "Migdal Estate" had natural running water, various plants could be grown in the summer as well as in the winter. One of our friends went to Damascus to study the new irrigation methods. Within 18 months, the fields of "Migdal Estate" were green and flourishing. They were growing vegetables, cotton, fruit trees, vineyards etc.
Very shortly, the number of members in the Estate was over a hundred despite the difficult conditions and the malaria. "Migdal Estate" took care of the hygienic and social conditions.
The large variety of occupations on the farm, enabled each member to work according to their abilities. A large part of the workers were specializing in growing vegetables, most of them were working in the vegetable garden. Many suffered of Malaria and of the burning sun but they overcame all these difficulties with their love to the land.
That year another attempt was made for cooperative form of living in Merhavia. At the time, the issue of settlement occupied all of us in Migdal. We all hoped to be totally independent and not to rely on any employers. We did not think highly of the existing colonies in the Galilee. We were worried about the possibility of hired work and cheap work.
We were dreaming of agricultural work without hiring other workers, of national land and intensive agriculture.
A small group of workers in the vegetable garden in Migdal wanted to realize this idea. Five members took upon themselves the work at the vegetable garden. One of the five, Jacob Zamdweiss did not achieve this goal. As we were not experienced enough and faced unbearable weather conditions, the vegetable garden went down the drain. We did not give up and we tried to get more workers to join us.
After a while most of us left Migdal and moved to all kinds of places like Kinneret, Merhavia, Yavniel, etc. In Kinneret we kept growing vegetables, we built fences and were doing similar types of works.
The World War was the reason for lack of work and other shortages. Mutual aid and self employment were crucial those days.
Most workers were active in Hapoel Hatzair (The Young Worker) and in the socialist "Po'aley Zion" party. Other members, like most of our friends, were non-partisan.
The founding meeting in favor of the establishment of "Moshav Ovdim" took place in 1929.
The regulations for this form of settlement have been set as follows: National land settlement, Individual and intensive farms, self employment, mutual aid etc. No only were the members of the Kibbutzim not happy with our new kind of settlements, but also among us, some members disapproved of this new form. Some of us feared that we would not be able to establish the Moshav as planned in Hamra. We were also facing budget problems. Having large families and small children did not make it easier.
We were eleven men and four women that settled in Hamra. We built two huts - one served as a dining room, kitchen and living space, the other was a stable for the animals. We removed rocks and prepared the land for planting. Thus, we had to leave Hamra, after everthing that we had built was burnt and robbed during the uprising of the Arabs against the French. Again we were scattered to different places in the Galilee and the valley. Some of us moved to Tel-Adas, some joined the road constructions and other public works. Negotiations started with the authorities concerning our settlement. We realized that in order to obtain our goal we need to have more members in our group. Now as a group of fifty men and women, we submitted our demands to the Agricultural Center and asked for a settlement suitable for sixty families.
The decision has been made and the plan for a Moshav Ovdim in Emek Yisrael was approved. This ended our wanderings and doubts. A new era started.
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