One of the world’s most innovative countries is also one of the smallest. Israel’s population of approximately 8.5 million only makes up 0.11% of the world’s population, but the country ranks 4th in scientific studies produced per capita.
Israel has brought forth all kinds of technology that has revolutionized agricultural development in a desert climate. And today, Israel is involved in a unique project that the whole world can look forward to seeing completed.
The First Pioneers
Israel’s interest in agricultural science can be traced back to its roots when Zionist pioneers came to the land in hopes of developing independent Jewish farming communities known as kibbutzim.
Organized agricultural research began as early as 1870 with the founding of the Mikveh Israel School, one of its graduates would go on to discover emmer wheat, known today as “the mother of all wheat.”
While Zionism and the untapped potential of Israel attracted well established Jewish intellectuals from all over the world, persecution and oppression also brought millions of migrants to the land as children and families.
Many of Israel’s great scientists were also native-born and educated, as Israel’s rigorous education system continues to produce some of the most prolific and well-respected scientists today.
Fast Farming Facts
- Israel’s cows are the most productive milk producers in the world.
- Israel has developed a special breed of tomatoes that thrive in hot, desert climate and have the longest shelf life of any tomato.
- Israel produces over 90% of its own food through agriculture.
How Israel’s Farming Transforms the Wasteland
In many cases, farming can be detrimental to the environment, but in Israel, agriculture has had the opposite effect.
In countries covered in forests, the destruction of trees to make room for land and grazing pastures causes a number of problems that usually wind up leaving the land barren, dry, and uninhabitable.
In South America, for instance, the heavy rainfall is naturally absorbed by all the trees and plants in the rainforest. But when humans clear those trees to make room for farming, the rain will not be absorbed, and instead, causes flooding.
The flooding will wash away good soil and nutrients that crops depend on—leaving the land barren. In Israel, the process works in reverse.
The land starts out barren, but adding plant life helps retain moisture and nutrients. The challenge for Israel is, in the desert, there isn’t much moisture to retain!
Water has always been a scarce and expensive resource in Israel, so the early Israeli farmers and scientists needed to make the best use of what they had—finding a way to use it efficiently. This led to the agricultural development of drip irrigation.
In North America, many farmers can use sprinklers for crops because the soil will retain the moisture and the crops will have plenty of water to drink. But in Israel, using that much water would be terribly expensive, not to mention wasteful, because the dry soil cannot retain enough moisture to sustain the plants.
The fledgling communities simply could not afford to use the quantities of water that water-rich countries like the United States would for their crops.
So the early Israeli farmers and scientists developed an efficient technology known as drip irrigation. Primarily the bulk of the water is stored in a small tank or bucket that releases water to the plants slowly so that the plants can drink what they need as they grow and the water doesn’t go to waste.
As the plants grow and their roots reach deeper into the soil, the soil retains more moisture and nutrients naturally. Eventually, the desert wasteland’s soil is transformed, retaining enough moisture and nutrients to support more and more plants. This process enables the same plot of land to be used for farming over and over again.
The kibbutzim were a huge success for Israel, and their agricultural production helped launch the Israeli economy and sustain its growing population. Plus, the technologies that supported the Israeli desert farmers thrive and have since spread around the world to help other countries like Mexico produce more food in their own desert climates.
But no country has seen the transformation the way Israel has. In less than a century, Israel has established itself among the world’s most influential and significant nations, and has witnessed a unique transformation of its seemingly inhabitable Negev Desert.
The region that was ignored by the Ottomans who occupied it for centuries has actually been a key point of interest for God, and a special project He now intends for Jews and Christians to complete together…
The Prophecy of Restoring God’s Garden
“The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing… They shall see the glory of the Lord, the excellency of our God.”
Many passages in the Bible refer to the Negev Desert and the restoration of the House of David, or Israel. God has returned the Jews to their homeland and saw that they were protected from enemies who have attacked from all sides. Now the next phase of His plan has been set in motion.
God brought the Jews to the Negev Desert for a particular purpose. Not only was He fulfilling His promise to bring them home, but He also wanted to teach humanity how to transform the desert. He chose to teach the lessons in the Negev because that is the place He wants us to transform first.
And we believe nobody has equipped us with better tools for agricultural development than God Himself.
No matter how smart and efficient our technology becomes, nothing can compare to the power of God’s technology. And that’s what My Olive Tree has been putting to use to help restore Israel.
Trees are the foundation of some of the world’s most productive ecosystems. They produce the oxygen that we breathe and can clear the air of pollutants and carbon dioxide.
Their extensive roots can retain an abundance of moisture and nutrients, and their branches provide fruits that further develop Israel’s economy today.
My Olive Tree has been partnering directly with the Israeli government to plant and sustain olive trees in the Negev Desert for decades, bringing us closer to achieving God’s mission while helping Israel flourish. Find out more about what we’ve been doing and how you can help by visiting our Wall of Honor!