Kanye West calls for a ‘Christian kibbutz’ movement


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Shira Hanau

(JTA) — Kanye West’s trips to Israel clearly left a mark on the rap superstar.

In a wide ranging podcast interview released Friday, West — who recently changed his legal name to Ye — said he thinks Christians should form kibbutz communities, modeled off the Jewish versions, to help foster a sense of togetherness.

“We need Christian kibbutz, we can have communities,” West said on the “Drink Champs” hip-hop podcast.

He had to clarify the term to co-hosts N.O.R.E., a rapper, and DJ EFN, a record executive.

“Jewish people have this type of circular community… it’s like where they live, and where we need to live, where the grandparents can take care of the kids,” he said. “It’s better to have a grandparent taking care of the kids than a nanny taking care of kids — hired love. You get what I’m saying? That we move as a community, and as a community, we will not fail.”

It isn’t clear if West has ever visited a kibbutz, the collectively owned community format that Jews pioneered even before the establishment of the State of Israel. But the rapper and Kim Kardashian, who is seeking a divorce from him, have visited Israel several times. In 2015, when West performed near Tel Aviv, the couple visited Jerusalem to baptize their daughter in an Armenian church in the Old City.

Perhaps the connection to Israeli kibbutz culture comes from a different source — Kardashian purchased quartz for kitchen countertops in the couple’s home back in 2013 from Israeli kibbutz Sdot Yam, which led to a deal to distribute the company’s products in the United States through Ikea.

West’s remarks spurred an invitation from the Kibbutz Movement, the umbrella group that includes most of Israel’s 279 kibbutzim.

The Kibbutz Movement reported that it had received tens of thousands of applications by interested residents during the year of pandemic lockdown.

West has become a fervently religious figure in recent years, releasing multiple albums about his newfound Christian outlook.

“I believe ‘ye’ is the most commonly used word in the Bible,” he said about his name change in August. “In the [New Testament] Bible it means you. So, I’m you. I’m us.”

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