by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths
We received this really interesting comment...
Okay, and today I read about the issue of the planned desalination plant in Ashdod. I really don't understand this whole socialist water company thing. Is that sort of infrastructure industry keep out of the hands of private companies? I really don't understand how anything works in Israel. The technology is there to terraform the desert into Gan Eden. So, why is the desert still a desert in so many places? Are there Orthodox kibbutzim? Do the Breslov have farmers and ranchers? Do they have communities out in the country or is everyone forced to find homes and jobs where they can here-and-there in various cities? Can one own land and/or a house? Are there even plans to build a self-sufficient Breslover community or does such a thing already exist? Is it a lack of funds or government red-tape or is there a bias against letting the Orthodox do anything except study? If the Breslov had the funds and wanted to settle the Uvda Valley and farm it, could they? Clue us in, okay? I'd really like to understand how things work there, especially among the Breslov and other Hasidim.
So here it is, all about Israel while standing on one leg...
A. Water company. Israel has one national water company, Mekorot. They've done amazing things in creating a national water infrastructure, and continue to work to fulfill Israel's growing water needs. Given that they are a government company, efficiency is not their keyword. Yet, water network is one of those services that tends to be a money loser and require central planning - meaning it fits government control pretty well.
B. Desert a desert. First, not so many people want to live in a desert environment. Even if there's some (watered) green, it's still very hot and dusty. Second, it takes a LOT of water to turn the desert green. Israel does NOT have plentiful natural water supplies. It's a semi-arid country with seasonal (only) rainfall.
C. Orthodox kibbutzim. This is somewhat of an oxymoron. Kibbutzim started with a firm communist ideology, both in collective work and socialization. The kibbutzim were extremely anti-religious environments. Most kibbutzim have collapsed as collective concerns and sold off their property. Others turned into small towns. A few remain as communal corporations with shares.
D. Breslov farms/ranchers. Historically Jews in Eastern Europe were forbidden from working the land, leaving the Jewish people with no farming or ranching skills. Religious Jews arriving in Israel that went to kibbutzim had their religiosity removed. Those that didn't go to kibbutzim congregated in Jerusalem or other cities. Hence, there are no Breslov farmers or ranchers. Exception: in more recent times a few special guys here or there in the Tzfat (Safed) area and/or the Golan area may have a couple of private (often organic) farm or ranch situations.
E. Communities. Many small towns in Israel have a particular ethnic and religious flavor (with many original immigrants from the same country). Cities tend to have religious neighborhoods of various types (chassidic, not chassidic, different types of chassidic, etc). There are some religious cities and towns that are majority or almost exclusively religious. Similarly Israel has richer cities and towns, and poorer cities and towns.
F. Land ownership. In Israel there is private land, State land, and Fund land. Private land is private and subject to buying and selling like property anywhere, but is a small percentage of available land/property. State land (land previously owned or controlled by the Ottoman Empire/Sultan, taken by the British after World War I, and taken control of by Israel after the War of Independence) may be "rented" for 99 years (with perpetual renewal) for a purchase-equivalent price. Fund land is the Jewish National Fund, where Jewish people around the world donated money for the last 200 years or so to buy up the Land of Israel (and is around 30% of the land). Fund land is released for public works projects and sometimes regional development, is subjected to being "rented" like State land, and may be subject to additional restrictions.
G. Self-sufficient Breslover community. What's a self sufficient community in this day and age? That said, there are some communities that are rather new-agey organic gardening music playing close to nature religious with some Breslov-ness (Bat Ayin comes to mind).
H. Lack of funds. Breslov chassidim have a history of being the poorest of chassidic groups. Speaking of which, our own Rabbi Nati is starting a special Breslov oriented yeshiva in Ramat Beit Shemesh and could use some support. You can support him here or learn more about it on the Facebook page.
I. Uvda Valley. Desert, NO WATER, almost no rainfall, out of range of the national water carrier. You'd have to build a desalinization plant and pipe it up from Eilat. Not feasible.
BS"D - בסיעתא דשמיא