Since an Israeli water engineer, Simcha Blass, revolutionized the concept of drip irrigation, it has become a large Israeli industry that has been helping nations of the world feed their people. In Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, Benin and Niger, hungry people are being helped to produce more food, many times on dry, infertile land. The nation who is to be “a light to the nations” is helping the hungry nations eat. Thank God for Israel!
It’s rather amazing that the entire idea of drip irrigation came from a simple observation of a simple water leak leading to astouding positive results – especially in the desert.
The Negev – Israel’s Desert
Despite Israel being a small country, it still has vast areas that are desert – at least 1/3 of the entire country is either a desert or lives with desert-like conditions of heat. Since Israel has been surrounded from it’s inception with unfriendly neighbors and been challenged with major food shortages due to massive immigration, any new ideas that were able to somehow capitalize on whatever resources Israel had, became a top priority.
Very few ever believed that the deserts of Israel could turn into flourishing areas of agriculture and productivity. One of the few who never stopped believing in the idea of building up the desert of Israel was none other than Israel’s legendary 1st Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. In a famous speech that he gave that was titled, “The significance of the Negev,” Ben Gurion declared the following:
“It is in the Negev that the creativity and pioneer vigor of Israel will be tested, and this will be a crucial test. Israel’s capacity for science and research will be tested in the Negev and it is incumbent upon our scientists and researchers to focus on the new areas of research which residents of the North will have need of: research to desalinate water with inexpensive processes; to exploit solar energy which is so abundant in our country, and especially in the Negev; to use wind power to generate electric power…..”
What is simply amazing is that Ben-Gurion foresaw all of this back in 1953. All of what he spoke about then is today becoming a reality. In addition to drip irrigation technology, Israel is also on the forefront of everything relating to desalination and exploitation of solar energy. Anybody travelling through Israel’s deserts is sure to see the tens of thousands of palm trees producing dates by the tons – all out of the harsh desert. The desert is truly blooming in Israel today.