Strike the Rock: Israel’s Modern-Day Miracle Worker Cohen Fritz / GPO

Strike the Rock: Israel’s Modern-Day Miracle Worker

How one of Israel’s most unassuming prime ministers brought water to a dry and thirsty land


Water in the desert was a miracle for which Moses will never be forgotten, but there is another unsung hero who has done more wonders than anyone else to bring forth water for the people of Israel. Meet Levi Eshkol – the man who made Israel’s desert bloom. (image) Levi Eshkol (Photo: GPO)

Levi Eshkol was born outside Kiev, Ukraine in 1895 and worked in local agriculture, where water for farming was plentiful. He immigrated to Israel in 1914 at the age of 18 and worked in one of the first citrus orchards of Petah Tikvah, where he soon discovered that water is a problem in the land of milk and honey. Eshkol joined the agricultural settlement Atarot, and by 1920 became one of the founding members of one of Israel’s foremost agricultural kibbutzim, Degania Bet, just south of the Sea of Galilee. There he built the first pumps and pipelines able to carry water artificially from the Jordan River for crops and cattle in a land that had been dependent…