Rivlin on Gaza border: Without agriculture, Israel has no independence

President visits farmers to see how they are struggling since the coronavirus outbreak

President Reuven Rivlin is seen inspecting the wheat at a field in Kibbutz Sa'ad. (photo credit: MARK NEYMAN/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin is seen inspecting the wheat at a field in Kibbutz Sa'ad.
(photo credit: MARK NEYMAN/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin visited farmers near the Gaza border area on Wednesday and saw how farmers are struggling since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
Accompanied by Eshkol Regional Council head Gadi Yarkoni and several farmers, Rivlin's trip began at Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, where corn and sunflower seeds are cultivated.
The agricultural produce from the Eshkol Regional Council area meets around 60% of the domestic market demand. Crops typically grown in the Gaza border area include cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants, lettuce, pineapple, strawberries, cabbage, herbs, melons, watermelons, avocados and more.
“Coronavirus has opened our eyes to things that were once taken for granted, and we simply forgot them," Rivlin told the farmers. "For example, the importance of the foundations of this country, one of which is agriculture. The phrase ‘buy blue and white’ had some importance, and we knew that we could always take care of ourselves and we were proud of it. Over time, market forces and economic issues have led the way, but these days remind us of the fundamentals. Israel’s independence is the most important thing, and without agriculture, Israel has no independence. From here I ask you, Israeli citizens, buy blue and white. Buy Israeli produce. Buy the wonderful produce here.”
Rivlin's trip continued to Hinoman's facilities in Kibbutz Be'eri, which grows Mankai duckweed – a vegetable referred to as "the future of food."
Mankai is grown in a specialized environment with a secret fertilizer formula, and does not require human workers, earth or more than minimal amounts of water. It contains proteins very similar to the ones found in eggs, with high levels of iron and Omega-3, as well as immune-system strengthening fiber and vitamins.
“This green super-vegetable is perfectly nutritious and produced by unique technology that we developed in a way to ensure consistency and positive impact on physical performance," Hinoman CEO Ron Salpeter explained. "Leading research institutes around the world see Mankai as an opportunity for a real revolution in the quality of food and a contribution to physical resilience. We have all seen recently how much we rely on our immune system to deal with the corona pandemic. The idea of eating what we are used to, but in a way that is healthier, is a true revolution.”
Rivlin concluded his visit to Kibbutz Sa'ad, where he kicked off the wheat harvesting season.
“We are so excited to welcome the president to our fields and to begin the harvest with him," Yarkoni said. "During these months, with the coronavirus pandemic breaking out, the State of Israel has been given a serious reminder of the importance of Israeli agriculture for the resilience and food security of its people. We have been blessed with a president who is connected to agriculture, who appreciates and knows Israeli farming, who gives us the strength to continue, despite the challenges.”