1971 – Kibbutz El Rom

By Gabi Rosenberg (Bogeret, Madricha, Drachimnik 5778 and Gemilut Chasadim Tafkid for Va'ad Tnuah)

Kibbutz El Rom was founded in 1971 by a group of chalutzim from the Machanot Olim Zionist Youth Movement. Machanot Olim was the first youth movement with both a Zionist and socialist ideology to be established in Israel, beginning in the Herzliyah Gymnasium School in Tel Aviv in 1929.
Although they originally intended to settle in Beit HaArava in the Southern Jordan River Valley, they were persuaded to move to the Golan Heights. The name El Rom, "To Heights", refers to being the Jewish community at the second highest elevation in Israel. Over the years groups from the youth movement joined the Kibbutz after their army service, as well as individuals who moved from the cities.
To me, it is important because this reflects the complexity and controversy that surrounds many decisions made within Israel, both today and throughout its history. It is important for us to recognise and celebrate the pioneering actions of youth movements and Jewish youth in general, especially in their work in physically establishing Israel. However, it is also important for us to be aware of and engage in the debates surrounding contentious issues. In this case, the location of Kibbutz El Rom in what is internationally considered to be occupied territory.