Photo Credit: Gefen Ya'acov
Negev Iris blooming near Kibbutz Tze'elim

Residents along Israel’s southern border with Gaza have united to ask the military for special protection – not for themselves, which would be understandable, but for a rare and beautiful blossom that grows in the area.

The Iris Mariae is in danger of being crushed by the Iron Dome anti-missile aerial defense system deployed in the area, and the IDF soldiers who operate it, according to a report by the Hebrew-language Ynet site.

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Local residents approached GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi and IAF Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin about the issue, saying they felt it was “fundamental that we work together to preserve the surrounding sites of nature.”

In fact, the IDF says it did indeed seek, and has found another site for the life-saving anti-missile defense system.

“We have started the process of moving the Iron Dome system to an alternative site,” said IDF spokesperson. “The placement of heavy artillery is coordinated with regional councils, the Nature and Park Authority and the Jewish National Fund (which plants trees in Israel.

“Combat troops appreciate the importance of preserving nature in the area in which they operate.”

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