Two Israelis, Ben Gurion University Professor Pedro Berliner and winemaker Eli Ben-Zaken, will receive the French National Order of Agricultural Merit on November 27. Awarded since 1883, the National Order of Agricultural Merit this year will be awarded in Israel in the presence of French Ambassador Patrick Maisonnave and Israeli Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir.
Berliner is the director of Ben Gurion University's Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research in Sde Boqer, and has conducted extensive agro-hydrology research to promote the production of food in desert regions. Ben-Zaken is considered one of the most successful winemakers in Israel, and owns the vineyard Domaine du Castel.
Berliner and Ben-Zaken are the third and fourth Israelis to ever receive this French award, according to Ben Gurion University.