Because the upcoming festival of Shavuot is a harvest festival and one of three
pilgrim festivals during which in ancient times the Children of Israel brought
offerings to the Temple, the latter day celebration in Israel includes bringing
a first fruit offering to the President of the State.
Each year, farmers
from a different part of the country come to Jerusalem bearing not only the
seven Biblical species of olives, pomegranates, grapes, figs, wheat, barley and
dates, but also many other fruits and vegetables, including new strains that are
exported to foreign markets.
This year it was the turn of the
Megilot-Dead Sea Regional Council which brought not only its edible first
fruits, but also its human ones.
In recent years council chairman Motti
Dahaman, one of the founders of Kibbutz Kfar Shalom told President Shimon Peres,
there has been a 20 percent population increase in the area, with many young
couples and young families opting to live in the region. "We now have a whole
new generation of desert population," he said, indicating some of the parents
who had come with babies in their arms in addition to the group of white clad
kindergarten children with garlands in their hair symbolizing two aspects of the