The First 'Moshav Ha'ovdim (workers)' in Israel
Founded on September 11th 1921
Moshav Nahalal is located in the north west of the Jezreel Valley– near the Haifa – Afula road.
It was named after the biblical town of the tribe of Zebulun (Joshua, 15, 18, 21, 35) that is mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud as "Mahalol". This name was preserved in the name of the arab village "Malul".
The Moshav is built on a low and wide hill, approximately 100 m above sea level and is spread on an area of about 9,000 dunams of heavy brown/black soil.
The average yearly rainfall is about 530 mm. http://google.com
A few times a year there are nights where the temperature falls below 0ºC.
Moshav Nahalal is famous for its physical shape – the moshav is built in the shape of a circle. The moshav was designed by the architect Richard Kauffman in the spirit of its founders – the idea of equivalents and share, a sort of round table, all that sit around it – are equal.
A road circles the centre of the moshav, where in the outer ring there are farms next to each other.
In the front of each farm stands the family house, and behind it are all of the farms buildings and agriculture lands.
From an aerial view point Nahalal seems like a sun with its rays.
In Nahalal there are seventy five agriculture farms. On a further five farms at the entrance to the moshav, is built the Nahalal youth village which also includes both the middle and high schools . Originally it was an agriculture school for girls and was founded by Hannah Mizel Shochat (1923).
In the inner circle live the occupants who are not farmers, some of them work in the public facilities of the moshav. In the centre of Nahalal lay the public facilities and educational centres: kindergarten (pre-school) and a regional primary school. In Nahalal there is: a post office, a clinic, grocery shop, a agricultural supply shop etc. Some of these are used for the basic needs of the community and the surroundings villages. Other public facilities are: a club for the elderly, youth club ("ha'machleva"), a synagogue, a swimming pool, a library and archives.
There are also agriculture factories: an animal food factory and a food centre for farm animals, that make and sell their products to members of the moshav and to the rest of the area.
The people and the idea
The founders, people of the second aliya, came to Israel in the years 1904-1914 from Eastern Europe. These young people came to Israel with ideas and a passion to settle in this country, and build there the image of the "new" Jew, that holds and cherishes his land. After they had worked for about ten years in villages, agriculture farms, in groups and corporations gaining experience, they aspired to create a new type of settlement, both social and agriculture. They choose to create the first workers moshav, whose ideology included social justice, a connection to the land and life based on work on a family farm.
The founders of Nahalal were given numerous options to settle in Israel. In the end, they choose to settle in the Jezreel valley. The area had many springs and streams with no natural drainage which led to the creation of large swamps, a breeding ground for the "Anopheles" mosquito that was a career of malaria. Since it was necessary to drain the swamps and clear the land, they first settled on the edge of the valley, on a hill overlooking the Jezreel Valley – "Hill of the conquest " – the conquest of the land by 'Hebrew labour ' . The drainage and preparation of the land was tedious manual labour done by the settlers themselves and Jewish workers who worked with them, mainly members of the Third Aliyah.
Principles of the moshav
Eliezer Yaffe, a founder of the moshav, wrote the idea in his "Foundation for a workers moshav". The central principles of the moshav were held for decades. These principles and the community structure established in Nahalal differentiated the moshav from the historic village.
A. National land – land given to settlers on lease, in order to prevent trade in land
B. Independent work – that the settler would work in his farm helped by his family, without paid work.
C. Mutual assistance – individual assistance when necessary, by physical work or financial assistance.
D. Communal buying and selling – enabled farmers to direct most of their energies to work on their farms, preventing the need to market the produce or buy the necessary farm needs. Also to prevent competition on prices of products between the members.
E. Hebrew Language
In the middle of the 1980s, following the economic and social crisis that struck the moshav members, some of the original principles of the moshav have been abandoned .
The organization and management of the moshav
Following the crisis mentioned above, many changes were made to the moshav. In Nahalal there is still a agricultural cooperative, which maintains and operates the agricultural enterprises.
Since 1991 the mutual and shared financial responsibility among the members of the Association has been canceled. Each member works directly with the bank. Also the marketing of products is made directly by each individual farmer.
At the general meeting decisions are made in various areas which determine how the moshav is to be managed. Subject to the moshav regulations each member is entitled to one vote.
Society members annually select a Council with 21serving members. a "management" team of 7 active members are selected out of the council members.
The "management" team appoint the moshav secretary and the audit committee. In addition voluntary working committees organize social activities, (e.g. education, culture, youth, connection with soldiers, sports, social welfare, health, religion, security, planning, infrastructure) as well as economic activities of agricultural community (e.g. dairy, crops, soil and water, insurance, etc.).
Since 1999, according to members request and order of the Interior Minister a local committee was established in Nahalal . This committee is the local authority of the community in charge of managing the municipal and quality of life in the community. This local committee was run separately from the agricultural management.
Employment and income
Each farm has an area of about 100 dunams, most of it Irrigated, from that about 17 dunams are jointly cultivated. During the first decades of the existence of the moshav, the family farm was "mixed farm" the farm was based on a variety of agricultural industries. Over the years, the nature of agriculture has changed. The farms have become "specialized" farms – one main agricultural field and several secondary branches. Farms in Nahalal are mostly based either dairy, beef cattle, sheep and poultry. In the last decade the growth of citrus fruits figure prominently as well as a variety of crops.
In recent years there has been a decline in the ability of agriculture to be a sole source of income for the family farm. Many farmers have found alternative livelihoods or occupations in various fields in order to supplement the families income.