For many years, the kibbutz and the moshav were the most potent symbols of

the Zionist movement. The kibbutz, a communal rural settlement, and the

moshav, a co-operative workers’ village, were perceived as tools for moderniz-

ing Jewish society, for transforming the Diaspora Jew of European cities into

the ‘new Jew’, a Nietzschean Superman: a secular man of nature who lives a

productive life in the village and will lead the Jewish people on the path to

national rejuvenation.1 The idea of the co-operative village was adopted by

Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement, who referred to it as

‘Neudorf ’ in his utopian book Altneuland, published in 1902.2 During the follow-

ing decades, the Zionist movement presented the co-operative village as the

epitome of a healthy society, rejecting the idea of the city as a place of torment,

the relic of an old world.