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Regional Enterprises in Israel: A Trend in Regional Development / המפעלים האזוריים של ה'התיישבות העובדת' — ארגון חבלי של פעילות כלכלית-חברתית
דב ניר and Dov Nir
Eretz-Israel: Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies / ארץ-ישראל: מחקרים בידיעת הארץ ועתיקותיה
Vol. כב, DAVID AMIRAN VOLUME / ספר דוד עמירן (1991 / תשנ"א), pp. 128-136
Published by: Israel Exploration Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23621581
Page Count: 9
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The original aim of a regional enterprise, which processes agricultural production up to the semi-final and even final product ready for marketing, was to deal with tasks that single villages were unable to undertake. The first enterprises, established in the late forties, acquired heavy agricultural and transportation equipment; then came the first steps of organizing on a regional scale the processing of milk and milk products. The main function of the enterprises today is packing and sorting of agricultural products, such as citrus fruit, potatoes and dates, processing cotton, as well as preparing market-ready products like packed and frozen poultry and oven-ready fish products. An additional aim was to make the producer able to better withstand the risks of the market. The by-product of these aims created jobs for the non-rural population of the region, and a decentralization of the processing of agricultural production. Today, there exist some twelve regional enterprise centers, from the Hula Valley in the north to the Southern Arava. All kibbutzim and part of the moshavim participate in the centers. The centers are not centralist concerns, as each village is free to join or not to join them. They are a voluntary organization of the villages concerning particular agricultural branches (cotton, orchards, fish-ponds, vegetables, etc.), for which the center is a logistic and administrative center. The management is elected by the villages and branches participating in the center. The paper deals with two main problems: that of the hired workers employed in the centers, mostly inhabitants of the nearby development towns, which can constitute up to 80% of the working force. Their employment is contrary to the kibbutz ideology, but on the other hand, the workers can constitute 20 to 25% of the active population of the particular town. The trend of expanding the centers' activity beyond the declared aims (the processing of the production of the villages), received a very serious blow in the recent economic crisis caused by the government's inflationary policy in the mid-eighties. The recent trend is to leave the center's to deal with their original aims. The regional enterprises are closely tied to the Regional Council, the administrative authority in the rural sector of Israel; they are also an example of regional economic development, based on the socio-iconographical background of the local population, which accepts cooperation as a way of life.
Eretz-Israel: Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies / ארץ-ישראל: מחקרים בידיעת הארץ ועתיקותיה © 1991 Israel Exploration Society