During the Six Day War, when famous Israeli spy Eli Cohen worked for the Mossad in Syria, he suggested that Syrian soldiers plant eucalyptus trees near army fortifications in the Golan Heights. He told Syrian officials this would make Israel think the area was unfortified and would help Syrian soldiers stationed there survive the heat. Shortly after, he conveyed the locations of the trees to Israeli officials, helping the IDF know exactly where the enemy bunkers were.

The eucalyptus tree tale is just one of the many stories that are the focus of a new curriculum developed by Bar- Ilan University’s Lookstein Center for Jewish Education, with support from Dr. Shmuel and Evelyn Katz of Bal Harbour, Florida. As the 65th Independence Day approaches, it is worth looking at two recently launched programs, the Lookstein Center’s “Israel Throughout The Year” and the Israel Institute in Washington, both of which work to educate and engage scholarship about Israel.

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