|Founded by||Conservative Jews|
Hanaton (Hebrew: חַנָּתֹן, חנתון) is a kibbutz in northern Israel. Located twelve kilometers north of Nazareth near the Arab town of Shefaram, it falls under the jurisdiction of Jezreel Valley Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 114.
The biblical name Hanaton (Hebrew: חַנָּתֹן) appears in the Book of Joshua (19:14), where it is listed as in the area of the tribe of Zevulun, forming the border with the tribe of Asher's area. The name appears in the Masoretic Text with a dagesh in the nun, which, by many transliteration standards, should be spelled in English with two n's, thus Hannaton. However, in its early years, almost every English document spelled the name of the kibbutz as Hanaton, so both spellings are now common.
Kibbutz Hanaton is just to the west of Tel Hanaton, an archaelogical site that is associated with the biblical location. The tel is in the western end of the Beit Netofa Valley, and covers an area of roughly 100 dunam (25 acres,) and was occupied from the Bronze Age through the Ottoman Empire (from about the 34th century BCE through the beginning of the 20th century CE).
Kibbutz Hanaton lies to the west of the aforementioned tel, which itself is on the northern slope of Lake Eshkol, an important component of the National Water Carrier (Hebrew: המוביל הארצי.) (Lake Eshkol is a 4.5 million m3 reservoir which Hanaton overlooks at the end of the Beit Netofa Canal.) The entrance to the kibbutz is on the west side of route 784, which runs between the kibbutz on one side and the tel and the lake on the other, and continues south through Yiftahel Junction (Hebrew: צומת יפתחאל) to the important Carrier Junction (Hebrew: צומת המוביל,) where highways 77 and 79 cross the National Water Carrier. To the north of the kibbutz is the Arab village of Kafr Manda (Arabic: كفر مندا, Hebrew: כפר מנדא.) Southwest of the kibbutz, across highway 79, lies Alon HaGalil (Hebrew: אלון הגליל.) 
Until the 1970s, kibbutzim in Israel were either secular or orthodox. However, the success of the Reform movement's first kibbutz, Yahel, inspired a group of students loosely affiliated with the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City to plan a Conservative kibbutz in the early 1980s.
The students established a gar'in (Gar'in Nitzan) and started planning to move to Israel and build the kibbutz. Recruiting members from across the United States, they also joined forces with the Israeli branch of Conservative Judaism, the Masorti movement.
Meanwhile in Israel, the Masorti movement hired rabbi Ehud Bandel to recruit a group of high school seniors to join a Nahal gar'in to help establish a kibbutz. During 1982 and early 1983, the gar'in (Gar'in Noam) grew to about 30 young men and women.
On 1 September 1983, about 30 mostly-Israeli members of Gar'in Noam moved to Kfar HaHoresh for training. They were joined on 20 September, 1983 by about 40 mostly-American members of Gar'in Nitzan, including several families with small children. Members of Gar'in Nitzan ranged in age from 19 to 35, whilst members of Gar'in Noam were all 18 or 19 years old.
In September 1984, the founders moved into the new kibbutz, which was named for a biblical town that existed in the area and is mentioned in the Book of Joshua. The founders were later joined by immigrants from South Africa, South America, the Netherlands, and Canada.
The kibbutz' fortunes waxed and waned, until in 2004 the kibbutz was forced to bring in an outside financial committee headed by Eitan Set (Hebrew: איתן סט). Despite this, the situation worsened and the kibbutz kept losing money. The kibbutz' population also declined in the face of adversity, and most of the founders left, until in 2006 out of 114 residents, only 11 members of the kibbutz remained. In 1997 the United Kibbutz Movement began sending gar'inim (the plural of gar'in) of HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed to help repopulate the kibbutz. In 2003 two gar'inim of graduates returned to Hanaton, planning to settle there permanently. 37 of them remain to this day, but they intend to change the nature and charter of the kibbutz along the strictly Socialist lines of the classical kibbutz, instead of the more conventional cooperative of modern kibbutzim, and so they were repeatedly denied membership by the 11 remaining members.
In 2006, the youth gar'inim formally submitted a request to the Kibbutz Movement (the United Kibbutz Movement's successor organization) to dismantle and re-charter the kibbutz and thereby take over control from the minority members. To address the matter, and in cooperation with the financial committee, the movement appointed attorney Sagi Mirom (Hebrew: שגיא מירום) as dissolution trustee (Hebrew: המפרק המפעיל) in October 2006. Under his stewardship the kibbutz monthly loss of 80,000 NIS (about $22,000 US at the time) was reversed, and the kibbutz was returned to being a profitable enterprise.
In a hearing on 24 August 2008, Mirom submitted to the Registrar of Cooperative Communities (Hebrew: רשם האגודות השיתופיות) his recommendation that the existing kibbutz be renewed with the addition of 20 families from the Conservative movement, and that the gar`inim be evicted from the kibbutz. Faced with the choice of either enabling the ideologically hardline gar`inim to take over and "turn back the clock", or else allow Conservative families to purchase their way into the community and moderate the kibbutz charter to a more contemporary cooperative community, he chose the latter, emphasizing both that the original remaining members had been open to compromise but were rebuffed by the youths, and that the families were interested in preserving the Conservative nature of the kibbutz as it had originally been planned while the youths were not. The Kibbutz Movement for their part objected to the proposed arrangement, claiming that this would effectively prevent rehabilitation of other failing kibbutzim through youth gar`inim. The gar`inim themselves claimed that they are the only remaining line of defense for maintaining Hanaton as a pure kibbutz, and accused Mirom of wanting to sell off the kibbutz land to developers. The final decision was left to the Registrar, attorney Uri Zeligman (Hebrew: אורי זליגמן), although the Movement threatened to appeal to the courts if Mirom's recommendations were accepted.
On about 7 September, 2008, the assistant Registrar, attorney Itta Yellin (Hebrew: איטה ילין), published the decision. In accordance with Mirom's recommendation, Kibbutz Hanaton will be rechartered as a "renewed kibbutz" (Hebrew: קיבוץ מתחדש). Opposing his recommendations about the gar`inim, however, she refused to evict the youths from the kibbutz. Instead, she said that they must be allowed to apply for membership along with the 20 Conservative families. She cautioned, however, that they may not apply as a group, nor remain as an integral group within the kibbutz should they be accepted. She emphasized that they must each, individually, accept that the kibbutz is a "renewed kibbutz" and not a "collective kibbutz" (Hebrew: קיבוץ שיתופי), and that they would be expected to abide by the rules and behavior of the rechartered kibbutz. Accordingly, attorney Mirom filed to offer the gar`inim an agreement under these new terms, which they would have to answer by 21 September, and the various motions from the youth and the Movement were deferred pending the outcome of this new offer. The youth replied with a negative statement.
In the first years, there was a limited amount of agriculture. The kibbutz purchased a small crafts business called Hadran that made rug kits, providing some income. They also built a significant dairy sheep operation, as well as various other agricultural pursuits. Many kibbutz members worked on neighboring kibbutzim, especially Kfar HaHoresh, in exchange for daily wages which went into the kibbutz communal fund.
Over time, the kibbutz has been involved in numerous different lines of agriculture, involving both animals and plants.
Besides raising sheep for dairy, Hanaton was a partner with Kibbutz Gat in dairy cows. A state of the art chicken coop allowed for the raising of chicken and turkey hatchlings in a controlled, computerized environment.
אמנם החלטת הסגנית מחזירה את הצדדים למו"מ, ואיננה מאפשרת למפרק לערוך מחטף, אולם היא תוחמת את המו"מ לתוך מסגרת של קיבוץ "מתחדש", וממשיכה במגמת משרד הרשם להפוך את חנתון ליישוב קהילתי. מגמה זו מאיימת על קיבוצי התנועה כולם, זעירים וגדולים, מתחדשים ושיתופיים, מפני שהיא מביאה לכרסום עמוק במעמד התנועה הקיבוצית וביכולתה לעמוד על משמר האינטרסים הקיבוציים
Even though the assistant [Registrar] returns the parties to negotiations, and won't allow the executor to exercise his opportunism, she frames the negotiations in the context of a "renewed" kibbutz, and continues the Registry's trend to turn Hanaton into a community [i.e., as opposed to a kibbutz].This trend threatens all kibbutzim in the movement, small and large, renewed and communal, because it deeply erodes the Kibbutz Movements' status and its ability to defend the kibutzim's interests.