Op-Ed: Israel will Blossom and Sprout and Fill the Whole World with Fruit
“In the days to come Jacob will take root,
Israel will blossom and sprout, and they will fill
the whole world with fruit.”
Israel as a nation ceased to exist in 70 CE, when the Romans sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple, and dispersed the Jews throughout the nations of the world and there they remained for some 2,000 years.
In 1515, the Turkish Empire came to power and their empire included the land known today as modern Israel. The Turks decided to tax all the land and the trees on the Land of Israel. The tax became so overbearing that anyone who owned land in Israel cut down the trees in order to avoid loosing their land due to the extreme burdening of heavy taxation.
The result was the deforestation of Israel, which turned the land, known as Israel today, into a land of swamps and deserts. Swamps breed mosquitos, and mosquitos spread malaria.
Mark Twain Visits the Holy Land in 1867,
and he quipped in a letter to his mother saying,
“Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”
Twain’s writings in his book Innocent’s Abroad, described the utter desolation and barrenness of the land of Israel in 1867.
Throughout Innocent’s Abroad, Twain explicitly states that the area was desolate and devoid of inhabitants. His group entered Palestine (Israel today) from the north, passing through such sites as the Sea of Galilee, the Banias, Nazareth, Jenin and Nablus.
Riding on horseback through the Jezreel Valley, Twain observed, “There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent – not for 30 miles in either direction. There are two or three small clusters of Bedouin tents, but not a single permanent habitation. One may ride 10 miles, hereabouts, and not see 10 human beings.”
He continues, “Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince… Can the curse of the Deity beautify a land? Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies.”
The land was just as Ezekiel prophesied:
“I will make the land a desolation and a waste, and the pride of her power will cease; and the mountains of Israel will be desolate so that no one will pass through.” Ezekiel 33:28
Consequently, by the time the Turkish Empire was destroyed at the end of WWI, Israel was a land filled with swamps, malaria, and deserts.
By the turn of the 20th century, Jewish Zionists began to return to the land, determined to drain the swamps and to reclaim the land in order to make the land of Israel bear fruit once again. Consequently, the early pioneers imported thousands of eucalyptus trees from Australia to suck up the water to drain the swamps and eliminate deadly malaria.
So from the earliest days as a new nation, the planting of trees of every variety, especially fruit trees became an important part of Jewish history and life in the new nation when it was re- birthed in 1948 as the nation of Israel.
Consequently, a national holiday is now celebrated in Israel called Tu B’Shvat. In 1890, Rabbi, Ze’ev Yavetz one of the founders of the Mizrachi movement took his students to plant trees in the agricultural colony of Zichron Yaakov. This custom was adopted in 1908 by the Jewish Teachers Union and later by the Jewish National Fund, established in 1901, for the purpose of reclaiming the land and re-forestation of the Land of Israel.
In the early 20th century, the Jewish National Fund devoted the day to planting eucalyptus trees to stop the plague of malaria in the Hula Valley; today the Fund schedules major tree-planting events in large forests every Tu B’Shvat. Over a million Israelis take part in the Jewish National Fund’s Tu B’Shvat tree-planting activities.
In keeping with the idea of Tu B’Shvat marking the revival of nature, many of Israel’s major institutions have chosen this day for their inauguration. The cornerstone-laying of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem took place on Tu B’Shvat 1918; the Technion in Haifa, on Tu B’Shvat 1925; and the Knesset, on Tu B’Shvat 1949.
Tu B’Shvat is the Israel’s Arbor Day, and it is often referred to by that name in international media. Ecological organizations in Israel and the diaspora have adopted the holiday to further environmental-awareness programs. On Israeli kibbutzim, Tu B’Shvat is celebrated as an agricultural holiday.
Incredibly, in the 70 short years, Israel is one of the world’s leading citrus producers and exporters of fruit. These fruits include oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and pomelit, a hybrid of a grapefruit and a pomelo, developed in Israel.
Today, more than forty different types of fruit are grown in Israel. In addition to citrus, these include avocados, bananas, apples, cherries, plums, nectarines, grapes, dates, strawberries, prickly pear, persimmons, and pomegranates. Israel is the leading producer of loquat after Japan.
In 1973, two Israeli scientists, Haim Rabinowitch and Nachum Kedar, developed a variety of tomato with slower ripening than ordinary tomatoes in a hot climate. Their research led to the development of the world’s first long shelf-life commercial tomato varieties. This single discovery completely transformed agricultural economics in Israel, promoting the export of the vegetable seeds and the transformation into Israeli high-tech farming.
This discovery also had a massive global impact, as it enabled large scale production of fruits through the prevention of rapid spoiling. Prior to their discovery, farmers were often forced to discard up to 40% of their produce.
God Speaks and prophesied regarding the land of Israel
“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
Just as prophesied thousands of years before in Scripture, Israel a nation that ceased to exist for more than 2,000 years, a barren swamp filled land. A land of deserts, arid land with little water, was transformed in 70 years into a land just as God declared:
“In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, and they will fill the whole world with fruit.” Isaiah 27:6
Be sure to go to Israel News and see the full article and short video on Tu B’Shvat, and those who would like to be delighted even further, click below on the link in red.