While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was engaged in secret talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah on Thursday, President Shimon Peres was talking to another Jordanian, 26 year old Zainab Taya, who is doing research what she believes may be a breakthrough in the treatment of cancer.
Taya who is conducting her research at the Central and Northern Arava Research and Development Center, showed Peres the Arava plant which she believes has properties which can be extracted for the treatment of cancerous cells associated with breast cancer and leukemia.
Peres was totally fascinated, but no less fascinated than with displays of high quality produce that had been cultivated in the Arava.
A farmer himself in his youth, who graduated from the Ben Shemen Agricultural School and who subsequently lived on two kibbutzim, one of which he helped to found, Peres went to celebrate Tu B’Shvat with the farmers of the Arava.
“You have triumphed over nature,” he told them. Referring to the difficulties in growing fruit and vegetables in the Arava, Peres was astonished at how farmers working with R&D agricultural scientists and technologists had succeeded in conquering the desert. “Agriculture in the Arava is the most optimistic factor in Israel,” he said.
Also attending the agriculture exhibition were Minister for Agriculture Yair Shamir, Social Welfare Minister Meir Cohen, Deputy Minister for the Interior Faina Kirshcenbqaum, Jewish National Fund World Chairman Efi Stenzler, local council heads from the region, researchers, farmers from across the Arava and beyond and hundreds of sight seers.