MembersTaking Nothing for Granted: The Greening of Israel’s Desert

The State of Israel has successfully redeveloped abundant agriculture on this ancient, biblical soil.

By Aviel Schneider |

But the Israelites of the 20th century did not enter a Promised Land like that of the time of their forefathers, when this was a fertile strip of land “flowing with milk and honey.” On the contrary, the land was all but devastated, the once-verdant coastal areas full of dunes, and malariaridden swamps in place of green fields.

The greening of this desert is not easy, and certainly not in drier times, as we’ve experienced in recent years. Climate change is on everyone’s mind. Experts warn of dangerous rises in temperature, catastrophic storms and droughts. We see it also in Israel. The winters have been more dry, and the summers more hot. It’s a miracle that anything’s still growing in Israel’s desert, which receives a pitiful 30 millimeters (1.2 inches) of rain per year. Only the heartiest of plants and animals could possibly survive. And yet, one finds here Israeli farmers growing fruit and vegetables. And they’re doing so successfully enough to export large quantities to Europe...

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