The cooperative enterprise, popular in the early days of Zionism, has made something of a comeback over the past year.
Following last summer’s social justice protests, dozens of cooperatives have been founded. These include the Ha’agala co-op in Mitzpeh Ramon, which competes with the local branch of the Super-Sol grocery store, a social workers’ cooperative and a co-op in northern Israel made up of teachers employed by manpower companies.
Next month, a pub-restaurant co-op is slated to open in Tel Aviv, while in Jerusalem a plan for a cooperative coffee shop is beginning to take shape.
On Sunday, the first members’ assembly will be held for the Tel Aviv co-op, to be called Bar Kayma (Hebrew for “sustainable”), in which its members will vote on its menu, location and design. The original date for the opening was set for May 1, but this was pushed back due to bureaucratic delays.
The prices paid for food and drink at the new co-op will only cover the cost of production, while guests will be charged market prices. A half liter of beer, for example, will cost members NIS 15 ($4), while non-members will pay NIS 25 ($6.6). The pub’s seven employees will earn fair wages, and administrative decisions will be made by vote only. The co-op will serve only vegan food, a decision reached during the new institution’s founding conference.