Moshav (Template:Hebrewterm) is a type of cooperative agricultural community of individual farms pioneered by the Labour Zionists during the second aliyah (wave of Jewish immigration during the early 20th century).
The moshavim are similar to kibbutzim with an emphasis on community labor. They were designed as part of the Zionist state-building program following the Yishuv ("Jewish settlement") in the British Mandate of Palestine during the 19th century, but contrary to the collective kibbutzim, farms in a moshav tended to be individually owned but of fixed and equal size. Workers produced crops and goods on their properties through individual and/or pooled labour and resources and used profit and foodstuffs to provide for themselves. Support of the community was done through a special tax (Template:Lang-he, Mas Va'ad, lit. Committee tax). This tax was equal for all households of the community, thus creating a system where good farmers were better off than bad ones, unlike in the communal kibbutzim where (at least theoretically) all members enjoyed the same living standard. Moshavim are governed by an elected council (Template:Lang-he, Va'ad, lit. Committee). Many moshavim still exist today.
There are several variants, of which the most common are:
- Moshav ovdim (Template:Lang-he, lit. Workers' moshav), a workers cooperative settlement,
- Moshav shitufi (Template:Lang-he, lit. Collective moshav), a collective smallholder's settlement that combines the economic features of a kibbutz with the social features of a moshav. Farming is done collectively and profits are shared equally.
The first moshav, Nahalal, was established in the Jezreel Valley (also known as the Valley of Esdraelon) on September 11, 1921. In 1986 about 156,700 Israelis lived and worked on 448 moshavim, the great majority divided among eight federations. There are two types of moshavim, the more numerous (405) moshavei ovdim and the moshavei shitufiym. The former relies on cooperative purchasing of supplies and marketing of produce; the family or household is, however, the basic unit of production and consumption. The moshav shitufi form is closer to the collectivity of the kibbutz: although consumption is family-or household-based, production and marketing are collective. Unlike the moshavei ovdim, land is not allotted to households or individuals, but is collectively worked.
Because the moshav form retained the family as the center of social life and eschewed bold experiments with communal child-rearing or equality of the sexes, it was much more attractive to traditional Mizrahi immigrants in the 1950s and early 1960s than was the more communally radical kibbutz. For this reason, the kibbutz has remained basically an Ashkenazi institution, whereas the moshav has not. On the contrary, the so-called immigrants' moshav (Template:Lang-he, Moshav Olim) was one of the most-used and successful forms of absorption and integration of Oriental immigrants, and it allowed them a much steadier ascent into the middle class than did life in some development towns.
Like the kibbutzim, moshavim since 1967 have relied increasingly on outside — particularly Arab — labor. Financial instabilities in the early 1980s hit many moshavim hard, as did the problem of absorbing all the children who might wish to remain in the community. By the late 1980s, more and more moshav members were employed in nonagricultural sectors outside the community, so that some moshavim were coming to resemble suburban or exurban villages whose residents commute to work. In general moshavim never enjoyed the elite status afforded to kibbutzim; correspondingly they have not suffered a decline in prestige in the 1970s and 1980s.