ISRAEL - Almonds in the Desert

Arno Froese

Since its founding in 1948, Israel has never stopped inventing agricultural technologies that greatly improve farming everywhere.

Continuing ag-tech innovation enables farmers to use water and fertilizer more efficiently, grow crops resistant to disease and drought, and harness data above and below ground to increase quality and quantity.

Plant scientist Tamir Klein, principal investigator at the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Tree Lab, specializes in dryland forestry. He hears a lot of concern about how fruit orchards will cope with hotter, drier conditions across the globe.

“Not a single day goes by when I am not answering inquiries from colleagues from abroad,” Klein tells ISRAEL21c.

“Summers are getting hotter. Carbon dioxide is warming the planet and we have more drought,” he says. “We are trying to look everywhere we can to think out of the box and find solutions.”

Israel’s Negev Desert and Yatir Forest provide perfect living laboratories for his research.

“The Negev is part of the Sahara-Arabian desert belt and is one of most arid places on Earth. The desert in the United States is wetter and cooler; it looks like a garden in comparison,” says Klein.

Yatir Forest, planted by the Jewish National Fund to provide work for new immigrants in the 1950s, has turned into one of the world’s only fully functional forests in hot semiarid conditions. Klein’s PhD mentor, Dan Yakir, received a 2019 Israel Prize for uncovering mechanisms that enable trees to survive there.

“In dryland forestry, we are making important contributions. What we have in Israel is the driest forest in the world,” says Klein.

Growing Ramon almond seedlings under controlled greenhouse conditions, the Weizmann scientists learned that due to their ability to resist embolisms—tiny air bubbles that block trees’ water vessels—these trees tolerate drought much better than do almond trees in commercial orchards.

“What we have discovered about embolism resistance could help almond growers all over the world,” says Klein. “We can use the Ramon almond as a future rootstock in the drier, hotter future that is awaiting us.”, 2 March 2020

Arno's commentary

This seems almost prophetic: almond trees growing in the desert. We are reminded of the children of Israel, when they rebelled against Moses. Each of the leaders, or “princes” supplied a rod, which Moses laid in the tabernacle. “And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds” (Numbers 17:8).

Not only Israel, but also the whole world will be judged by the almond tree, as we can read in the prophet Jeremiah: “See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10). The Word of God becomes the judgment against the nations. Then, in verse 11, the almond tree is again revealed: “Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree.” Luther translates this as “an awakening branch.” This is the confirmation that God’s Word will outlast human history; it is guaranteed forever.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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