chapter  2
Experimentation in Housing for Nationalism, 1858–1917
Pages 26

In the history of Zionism the Hebrew city of Tel Aviv (1909) and the communal agricultural Kibbutz (1910) are described as the ‘Remus and Romulus of Zionism’, the two dominant settlement forms for re-rooting Zionists in the homeland and realizing Jewish nationalism from idea to sovereign polity (Joffe, 2010; Shafir, 1996a; Kark, 1990). Yet, scholars never questioned why it was that Tel Aviv and the Kibbutz became Zionism’s dominant built environments rather than other rural and urban settlements of their time. This question is particularly important since both Tel Aviv and the Kibbutz were not the only experiments in urban and rural Zionist settlement – nor were they the first attempts at rural or urban Jewish settlement.1 Moreover, when founded in the early 1910s, the communal rural Kibbutz and Hebrew city were formed in the context of two already successful housing-settlement models: the Moshava rural village, which by 1910 included twenty-six Jewish settlements housing some 5,000 people, and ex-urban neighbourhoods outside the walls of Jerusalem and Jaffa, which by 1910 included some 3,000 residents in twenty-two neighbourhoods. Why, then, have Kibbutz and Hebrew city become so central to Zionist materialization?