gap year in israel

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Many of Israel’s kibbutzim are well known and during your gap year you are likely to visit at least one. The vast majority of kibbutzim have something worth visiting for, whether it is a historical site, a particularly pretty walk or garden, an interesting museum or something else. However, a major aspect of kibbutz life is agriculture and this means that at many kibbutzim you can make your visit even better by tasting their products.

For instance if you visit Tzuba, which is located just outside Jerusalem, you can not only enjoy some interesting walks, including a visit to John the Baptist’s cave complete with some of the earliest known Christian drawings, but you can combine the day with a trip to the kibbutz’ winery and chocolate workshop. At the winery you can taste a range of excellent wines and of course pick up a bottle or two at a discount. On Friday mornings the tastings are free and there is plenty of time to get the bus from Jerusalem and back before Shabbat. At the chocolate workshop you will be given a short lesson on how to make various different types of chocolate and then left to your own devices to create some tasty treats to take home with you.

In the south of Israel is Kibbutz Samar. It is located in the Arava valley and was founded in 1976 with the aim of being a different kind of kibbutz. They wanted to offer members more independence and responsibility and to this day the kibbutz remains true to its original vision which in itself makes it a fascinating place to visit. While you are there you can visit the organic date groves and taste some of the delicious fruits. If you arrange your visit properly you will also be able to see how the dates are harvested and sorted which is far more interesting that it sounds.

If you are interested in organic food then you should probably pay a visit to Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu. Located in the Jordan valley, Sde Eliyahu is a religious kibbutz that still conducts its life according to a collectivist kibbutz model. The kibbutz is considered a pioneer in organic agriculture and offers fascinating bio-tours. On the tour you will learn about the latest technics in organic farming and of course taste the resulting products. It is possible to arrange private tours or join a larger group and for a small additional fee you can also enjoy a variety of hands-on activities.

These are just three of the many kibbutzim that offer you the chance to have an interesting and tasty visit at the same time. Almost every kibbutz in Israel offers something unique, although not always food related, and they are often worth visiting. While on your gap year you can use some of your free time to visit these places and not only learn about the kibbutz system and how it has evolved, but also enjoy the fantastic kibbutz products and return home thoroughly satisfied.