In honor of Tu B’shvat, IDF soldiers planted 1,532 trees in the vicinity of Nachal Oz, on the Gazan border in southern Israel. The 1,532 trees signify the 1,532 rockets fired by Hamas terrorists at Israel from Gaza during Operation “Pillar of Defense.”
The event, titled “A Plant for Each Rocket,” was held in conjunction with the Jewish National Fund (JNF). Some 800 soldiers participated. Commander of the Education Corps Brigadier General Eli Shermeister emceed, hosting Southern Command CO Major-General Tal Ruso and JNF World Chairman Effi Stezler.
The trees will provide some shelter from gun fire for Israeli hikers and motorists on the roads outside Nachal Oz. The settlement has been the target of several shooting incidents over the years, with some starting fires in the area.
Another eleven communities will receive similar protection in the near future, with the trees expected to shade about 7.5 miles of vulnerable roads, mostly near the security fence.
The species of tree selected for this task is the eucalyptus, which, according to experts, will provide the necessary cover: it’s a quick grower and gets to be very tall, supplying the needed protection in a short period of time.
These fragrant trees will also aid the beehive industry in the region.
Effi Stezler stated during the event: “We are planting these trees to provide protection for the civilian passengers on the roads, and to offer defense for the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, these trees will provide oxygen and honey. We believe that these trees, which have previously provided shelter from the Syrians on the Golan Heights years ago, will now protect the residents of southern Israel.”
About the Author: Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.
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