About Kibbutz Ketura
Kibbutz Ketura is a cooperative kibbutz; a green oasis located in the southern Arava valley, between the golden Negev mountains in the west and the reddish-purple Edom mountains in the east, some 50 kilometers/31 miles north of Eilat . According to the cooperative values of our kibbutz, we share all our assets and income, work together as a community, and make all major decisions as a community.
Kibbutz Ketura was established in 1973, shortly after the end of the Yom Kippur War. The founding group was comprised of some 30 American young, graduates of the Young Judaea Zionist youth movement. The first few years were very challenging, but the next years brought many new members to the kibbutz - new immigrants from around the world and idealistic Sabras, some of whom were graduates of the Israeli Scouts movement. Today, we are the second largest community in the Southern Arava, with some 162 members. Less than, half our members are native English speakers (most from North America, a few from England, Australia, South Africa…), about a quarter are from countries that speak Russian, Spanish, French and other languages, and about one quarter were raised in Israel. These families have about 200 children under the age of 21 living on Ketura.
For many years, the kibbutz economy was based almost exclusively on agriculture and income from members working outside the kibbutz. All members’ pool their income to our communal account whether they work within the Kibbutz branches or bring a salary from work outside the kibbutz. Today, we have diverse branches including:
Our date grove, where we grow two main varieties: Medjoul and Deglet Nour.
Our educational tourism branch and kibbutz guest house: Keren Kolot.
The kibbutz is a partial owner of the Arava Power Company (APC), a solar power company, and the kibbutz is home to the first solar field in Israel as well as a large commercial field.
The kibbutz is partial owner of Algatechnologies, a factory situated on the kibbutz that produces a powerful antioxidant extracted from algae, for the international nutritional supplements and cosmetics markets.
In addition, the kibbutz is home to the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (AIES), an academic institute affiliated with Ben Gurion University. The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies is an environmental and academic institution located in Israel, dedicated to advancing cross-border environmental cooperation in the face of political conflict. The Institute prepares future leaders - Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, and students around the world - to cooperatively solve the regional and global challenges of our time, teaching them that "Nature Knows No Borders."
We operate daycare, preschool, and kindergarten on the kibbutz, while children in grades 1-12 study at the Ma'aleh Shaharut regional school 10 minutes away (in nearby Kibbutz Yotvata) and have afterschool programming on Ketura. Our children attend the NOAM Ramah summer camp, and participate in the NOAM youth movement year round. The kibbutz puts an emphasis on education and supports our children so that they may acquire a university education.
Ketura is a traditional, egalitarian, and pluralistic kibbutz, home to observant and non-observant members, each living according to his or her own beliefs. Shabbat and kashrut are observed in the public areas (the dining hall, members lounge, community center, pool, etc.) and at formal kibbutz activities, but members are free to do as they please in their own homes. Holidays and festivals are celebrated in a traditional fashion, and members and guests maintain a synagogue congregation. Synagogue services on Ketura include the full participation of women in all aspects, a fairly traditional liturgy, and no attachment to any one stream of Judaism.
Equality is not limited to the Synagogue, and is evident in every decision-making body, committee, and economic branch of the kibbutz. There is total equality in the realms of leadership, work, and the kibbutz's social fabric.