The precise numbers are not yet being publicized, but a survey shows that the young generation of the Religious Kibbutz (HaKibbutz HaDati) Movement wants more religion. This, in contrast with the popular perception of Religious Kibbutz members as being "moderate modern Orthodox."
The leaders of the movement are still studying the findings, and one of them told Arutz-7 they hope to have the full report out by the Pesach holiday, in mid-April. The preliminary findings were originally released in December, at a Kibbutz HaDati secretariat meeting at Kibbutz Merav in the Gilboa region, near Beit She'an.
The findings were presented as follows: The young generation wishes to become more religiously observant, and even to send their children to more religious schools. In addition, they believe that a religious lifestyle should be a clear condition for acceptance into a kibbutz of the movement. However, at the same time, they are not interested in extremism in terms of religious observance.
The survey included 600 residents or former residents of religious kibbutzim between the ages of 24 and 40. It was designed to find what the respondents like and dislike about Religious Kibbutz life, and why those who left did so. It also measured their approach to Religious Kibbutz ideology.
In this last regard, it found some ambivalence, with a majority relating positively to the concepts of equality and non-luxurious living - but also hoping for a high standard of living and the ability to pass on their assets to their children.
The survey was carried out by Professors Miriam Billig of Ariel University Center and Yossi Katz of Bar Ilan University.
The Kibbutz HaDati movement includes three moshavim (Masuot Yitzchak, Bnei Darom, and Nir Etzion), as well as 16 kibbutzim. Half of the latter - Tirat Tzvi, Merav, Maaleh Gilboa, Ein HaNetziv, Sdei Eliyahu, Beit Rimon, Lavi, and Shluchot - are in the Galil-Beit She'an area in northern Israel. The others are Rosh Tzurim and Kfar Etzion in Gush Etzion; Yavneh, Be'erot Yitzchak, and Ein Tzurim in central Israel; and Saad and Alumim in the western Negev. Many of them were founded in the 1930's and 40's.