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May 25, 2015 / 7 Sivan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘agriculture’

Chinese Media Ho-Hum on Netanyahu’s Visit

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Chinese media have reported Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s current visit as secondary news, reflecting China’s distance from the Israeli-Palestinian Authority issue.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is also in China, and his visit has gained slightly more attention than Netanyahu’s.

The Prime Minister’s main mission is economic, and Israel’s trump card in any political dealings between Beijing and Ramallah is Israel’s capacity for helping China in the fields of agriculture and high technology.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported a seven-paragraph blurb on Netanyahu’s first day in the country, with most of the report referring to his scheduled tour of the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum. The site illustrates Shanghai’s providing a safe heaven for approximately 30,000 Jewish refugees from the Nazi Holocaust.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has not brought up the matter of Syria in his visit and is not likely to talk about considering China’s objections to foreign intervention and its condemnation Sunday of Israel’s bombing of Iranian missiles in Syria that were headed for Hezbollah.

Abbas is trying to convince China to be more vocal in his bid for declaring the Palestinian Authority an independent country based on his own definitions while ditching a negotiated agreement with Israel.

However, China has little to gain from joining Abbas’ worldwide campaign for support and has a lot more to gain from Israel’s technology.

China Central television gave Abbas more coverage than Netanyahu, and Chinese President Xi Jinping presented a four-point proposal for Palestinian Authority.

The People’s Daily featured a photo of Abbas and the Chinese president shaking hands, and the caption read, “China firmly supports the just cause of the Palestinian people.”

However, experts in China doubt that Abbas will receive much more than headlines.

Prof Yin Gang, associated with a Chinese Academy of Social Sciences state-run think-tank, said Beijing is “very unlikely” to playa significant part in the deadlock between Jerusalem and Ramallah, according to the South China Morning Post.

Li Shaoxian, a Middle East expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a state security ministry-affiliated think-tank, told China Daily that China can “hardly match” Washington’s role in the Middle East.

Evidence of Stone Age Cultic Phallic Symbols Found in Israel

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Plans to build a new railway line in the north have lead to the discovery of an ancient Stone Age settlement with evidence of flint and stone tools and cultic sexual symbols.

Prior to work on the rail line to Karmiel, east of Haifa, the Israel Antiquities Authority excavated the Ahihud Junction and unearthed remains and artifacts from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period and the Early Chalcolithic period, dating from the seventh to the fifth millennium BCE.

“For the first time in the country, entire buildings and extensive habitation levels were exposed from these early periods, in which the rich material culture of the local residents was discovered,” said excavation directors Drs. Yitzhak Paz and Yaakov Vardi

They found remains of a village and “a large number of pottery vessels indicative of a highly developed pottery industry, flint tools, stone objects, as well as a number of unique artistic artifacts, among them a phallic figurine and a palette on which female genitals are schematically etched – these symbols also represented the fertility of the earth.”

“The ancient settlement remains ascribed to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period were discovered on top of the bedrock in which the ancient inhabitants hew different installations, and even built plaster floors in several spots. We found a large number of flint and obsidian arrowheads, polished miniature stone axes, blades and other flint and stone tools,” the archaeologists added.

One of the materials for the tools is not found in Israel, indicating that trade flourished with other regions, including Turkey.

“Another unique find that can be attributed to this period is the thousands of charred broad bean seeds that were discovered together inside a pit. The Neolithic and Chalcolithic societies were agrarian societies that resided in villages, and it was during these periods that the agricultural revolution took place, when plants and animals were domesticated. This is one of the earliest examples of the proper cultivation of legumes in the Middle East,” they explained.

A preliminary analysis of the animal bones discovered at the site shows that pigs were a principal staple in the diet of the inhabitants.

Israel Winning War against the Locusts

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Spray planes are working overtime and so far have overcome millions of locusts that have invaded southern Israel, with much smaller numbers reported in northern Israel.

Planes sprayed fields in the Negev overnight and early Wednesday morning before the locusts could feast on fields of wheat and vegetables.

Tzfat (Safed) residents were surprised to see a small horde of locusts in their neighborhoods, but there is no threat to nearby fields. Agriculture Ministry officials pointed out that locusts cause virtually no damage in small numbers, but the threat remains in the south.

Locusts Invade Israel but More of a Tourist Site than a Plague

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Small swarms of locusts have invaded Israel, and some of the pests were sighted as far north as the Golan Heights on Monday, but their small numbers will prevent them from creating any measurable damage, at least for the time being.

The timing of last week’s widespread locust attack in Egypt was perfect for recalling the eighth plague that struck ancient Egypt before the Exodus of the Jews, which will be celebrated in two weeks.

However, any moral messages to be learned from their appearance in Israel cannot be based on damage. Spraying has more or less prevented any danger to crops, although Agriculture Ministry officials warn that expected hot weather and winds from the south could create a danger that massive hordes of locusts could move into Israel and swoop down on farms for a pre-Passover feast.

The locusts are like isolated tourists and also are a tourist site for curious Israelis.

One hiker told the Jewish Press that while walking in the central Negev, south of Be’er Sheva, to enjoy strolling amid a multitude of flowers after heavy winter rains, he found a dead locust under a rock, providing a novel photograph.

Plague of Locusts Returns to Egypt

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

A return of the plague of locusts in southeast Egypt is on the radar of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), following recent heavy rainfall.

In case anyone forgot his Bible, the ancient plague of locusts followed the plague of hail, a “coincidence” that helps those who try to find natural reasons for God’s actions.

The country’s Ministry of Agriculture last month sprayed pesticides on 27,000 acres of land to chase away locusts, but the pests far outnumber the enemy spray.

Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported that huge swarms of locusts already have arrived in several areas, ready to feast on local crops. The numbers of locusts have increased, especially along the Red Sea coast between Egypt and Sudan.

The Egyptian Ahram website noted that eight years ago, Egypt suffered the most serious locust plague in recent history. More than one-third of the nation’s crops were damaged by the locusts, which gobble up anything that is green and make an horrendous noise.

The Muslim Brotherhood might want to note that after the hail and locusts, ancient Egypt was struck with the plague of darkness, which, figuratively speaking, already has distressed Egypt ever since the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood if not long before.

The next plague in line is the death of the first-born. And Passover is right around the corner.

Polish AG Looking into Ritual Slaughter’s Constitutionality

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Poland’s attorney general has asked the country’s Constitutional Court to investigate the constitutionality of ritual slaughter.

Andrzej Seremet said that he believes the minister of agriculture, who allowed an exemption to Polish law to accommodate ritual slaughter, violated the constitution.

Under Polish law, animals must be stunned before slaughter; the only exception is ritual slaughter. Islamic and Jewish law require that animals be conscious at the time of slaughter.

The Polish Ministry of Agriculture authorized the use of ritual slaughter several years ago, but animal rights activists say that a Polish animal protection law does not allow it. Earlier this month, activists who have been protesting ritual slaughter for the last several weeks asked the country’s prosecutor to investigate whether the ministry is violating the law by allowing ritual slaughter.

Animal rights activists believe that allowing ritual slaughter in Poland is illegal because it is not regulated by government act but by the authorization of the minister of agriculture.

The chief rabbi of Poland, Rabbi Michael Schudrich, told JTA that he has trust in the Polish legal system.

“We are convinced that the Constitutional Court shall consider the matter also in the context of the freedom of religion, particularly the right to maintain customs and traditions of national minorities,” Schudrich said. “As a rabbi I must say that shechitah – Jewish ritual slaughter – is executed with the greatest care about the animals.”

Earlier this month, the Dutch government signed a deal with Jewish and Muslim leaders to allow ritual slaughter. A bill that had passed the Dutch parliament’s House would have forbidden it.

Israeli Scientist Wins World Food Prize for Drip Irrigation

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

An 81 year old Israeli scientist whose revolutionary irrigation methods have saved and improved the lives of millions of people throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America, has received the prestigious World Food Prize, according to an announcement made by the foundation on Tuesday.

Daniel Hillel, Los Angeles native and father of Israel’s famous drip micro-irrigation method to conserve water while nourishing growing fruits and vegetables in the world’s most arid climates, was named the winner of this year’s $250,000 prize in a ceremony in Washington.  US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered the key note speech.  Hillel will be celebrated in an official ceremony at the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa on October 18.

World Food Prize Foundation President Kenneth Quinn praised Hillel, not just for his system which carries water through narrow plastic tubing to drip sparingly above the roots of the growing plants, but for his contribution to bridging divides between diverse peoples.  Over  the past half century, Hillel has taken his agricultural know-how to over 30 countries around the world, including Jordan and Egypt.  Hillel has also shared his knowledge with leaders in Palestinian agriculture.  Quinn noted that several letters of support for Hillel came from institutions in Egypt, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.

“He’s able to reach across the intercultural gap with this agricultural achievement in order to address that problem that they have in common about how to lift people out of poverty and reduce hunger by working together,” Quinn told the Associated Press. “In an area of the world and in lands where the divides — whether they be ethnic, political, religious, or diplomatic — seem so great, here is a man who by devoting his life to this peaceful development has sought to bridge those gaps.”

Hillel was born in Los Angeles, but moved in 1931 at the age of 1 to Palestine after his father died.

At age 9, Hillel was sent to live on a kibbutz, where he learned about agriculture and preserving resources in the difficult pre-state period.

Hillel returned to the United States for high school and university, and came back to Israel in 1951, at which time he joined the Ministry of Agriculture, mapping the new country’s soil and water resources. In 1952, Hillel joined a group of pioneers who developed a viable agricultural community in the Negev – the new community of Sde Boker – by fashioning small holes in cheap, small plastic piping readily available after World War II, and running water and fertilizer through them directly to plants.  The town so impressed Israel’s Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, that he made it his home.

The World Food Prize, honoring people engaged in fighting world hunger, was created by Iowa native Norman Borlaug, the winner of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in developing hybrid crops in order to increase food production in emerging nations.  He died in 2009.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israeli-scientist-wins-world-food-prize-for-drip-irrigation/2012/06/13/

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