Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Yo'av Tibon, RIP

This name won't mean anything to anyone living outside of Israel, and probably also nothing to most Israelis, but in my local regional authority, Yo'av was a force to be reckoned with over the years. I was saddened to learn that he died today; the funeral will be tomorrow afternoon. He had been ill for a long time, so his death was not a surprise. I don't know exactly how old he was, but as he was one of the founders of the kibbutz (at the end of 1948), I would put his age at 85.

As always with these obituaries, there are other people who can pay tribute much better than I can. I will only write about my personal connection.

Yo'av Tibon in the reason why I have been living in Kibbutz Tsor'a for the past 25 years. For that, he earns my eternal gratitude.

Starting around 1986, I was working one day a week as an accounting consultant for one of the first urban kibbutzim, a group of religious people living in Jerusalem who called themselves Reshit (the beginning, as in the first book of the bible, otherwise known as Genesis). I was sent by the kibbutz movement to run their accounts and to teach them the rudiments of accountancy, which I did in the offices of the regional kibbutz purchasing co-operative, also situated in Jerusalem.

Yo'av was running this co-operative, although to be honest, I'm not sure exactly what he did. Although our paths often crossed in the offices, we didn't work together. A few years later, when my wife and I decided to leave the kibbutz which was then our home, our first instinct was to apply to Tsor'a, and this we did via Yo'av. 

Unfortunately, at the time, there was no free housing (a situation which has reoccurred frequently during the past twenty five years), so we were left no alternative but to explore other options (ie kibbutzim). This we did over the coming year, but we were lukewarm about the other places that we visited. Almost by default, we enquired about moving to Bet Ha'emek, my old stomping ground (see the blogs about my gap year in 1973/4), and we even spent a week there.

One day in July 1989, my best friend (who still lives on Bet Ha'emek) called to say that her kibbutz were prepared to accept us as candidates, but that we would be receiving only a two room apartment (as opposed to the three rooms that we already had). After she put down the phone, Yo'av called (although it may have been someone else from Tsor'a) to say that Tsor'a now had a free flat (three rooms) and that we were welcome to come for a visit. Later on that evening, I received yet another phone call, this time from the absorption committee of Bet Ha'emek with their formal offer. Pre-warned, I was able to turn down their offer.

We then spent an interesting weekend at Tsor'a; as it is only about 10km from where we were living at the time and we had the use of my parent's car, we decided to drive to Tsor'a in the morning, meet people then drive home and sleep in our own home. This we did, meeting a variety of people, some of whom we had already met in other circumstances. My wife had studied to be a kindergarten teacher with someone from Tsor'a, and I knew a few people due to my regional activities as an accountant and programmer; hopefully these people put in a good word for us.

The arrangement was mutually satisfactory. At the time of that weekend, I was close to finishing a month's reserve army service, then we were due for a month's holiday abroad, so that was the only time that we had. A few days after we returned from the holiday, we packed up our belongings and transferred them via several car journeys to our new home. Our official date of joining Tsor'a was 1 Sept 1979, almost exactly eleven years after I emigrated.

So thank you, Yo'av, for being in the right place at the right time, and I wish you well in your new life.

[SO: 3562; 2, 12, 31
MPP: 396; 0, 1, 6 <- note the sudden spurt; I answered a question about bagpipes today]

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