Jerusalem Report

Unease on the Jordan

Talk about the security implications of a possible Israeli withdrawal from the Jordan Rift Valley is split neatly along right- and left-wing lines.

An Israel army vehicle patrols the Jordanian border in the Jordan Rift Valley, January 1
Photo by: REUTERS
Seeing Yinon Rosenblum walking around Moshav Na’ama, at the southern tip of the Jordan Valley, it is difficult to imagine him in an urban setting. Despite having grown up in Haifa, 35 years of growing organic herbs, basil, mint, sage, rosemary, tarragon and more, in this unforgiving climate have left their mark – calloused hands, an even suntan and a manner that is free of any hint of nonsense.

Like the other Jewish communities in the Jordan Rift Valley sector of the West Bank, Na’ama is an austere village in the heart of forbidding surroundings. Average summertime temperatures here top 35 degrees Celsius, annual rainfall measures less than 120 millimeters, and the earth is so salty, due to the proximity to the Dead Sea, that farmers must rinse the soil with fresh water prior to planting.

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