|To Make a Desert Bloom: The Israeli Agricultural Adventure and the Quest for Sustainability|
By Dr. Alon Tal
This article offers an overview of the vicissitudes faced by Israeli agriculture during the past century. The Zionist pioneers who came from Europe to Palestine sought to "reclaim" the status of Jewish farmers in their homeland. This ethic translated into an extraordinary societal support for Israel's agrarian economy and steady growth in agricultural production. Seven key factors are identified as being critical to this record of success, including a commitment to food security, water development and technological innovation. Yet, during the past 20 years, numerous changes in local and international dynamics have posed substantial challenges to Israel's agricultural sector. Additionally, while Israeli agriculture has largely halted erosion and restored desertified lands of the Negev Desert, it also produced myriad environmental side effects including water contamination and excessive pesticide usage. This article considers responses to these challenges that offer promising prospects for a sustainable agricultural future in Israel.
Israeli Nature Poll
"You are not obliged to finish the task - neither are you free to neglect it."
- Pirkei Avot 2:21
Did You Know?
Israel's largest single source of fresh water is the Mountain Aquifer, much of which runs under the West Bank.
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