As Israel celebrated its first winter rains, a group of 27 Latin American agricultural professionals from 13 different countries taking part in a MASHAV course enjoyed a day’s tour through southern Israel, learning about some of KKL-JNF's innovative activities in water sustainability, forestry and agriculture. MASHAV is Israel’s agency for international development cooperation.
“You are lucky enough to see rain here,” said Elisha Mizrahi, KKL-JNF's district forester of the North-West Negev region told the group, as a light drizzle began to fall during their first stop of the day at the Ya’ar HaMalachim (Forest of the Angels), located south of Beit Shemesh. “This is about as much as we will get here. We are within a short 45 minute drive from Tel Aviv but you have now reached the border of the desert. When you look around and see all this green, it is hard to imagine that this was all a desert once.
"Whereas Tel Aviv might get 40-50 centimeters of rain, the forest would only have about 6-10 centimeters of rainfall," he said.
Mizrahi told the group that the forest was planted in the early 1960’s when employment needed to be found for Israel’s new residents, following massive immigration from Europe and North Africa.
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