Israel Seven Species

Filed in Nature by on 08/03/2013 2 Comments
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Israel Seven Species

The Bible mentions seven species uniquely distinct to the land of Israel: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, dates.

Seven Species

Photo: Josephine Levin, All Rights Reserved

Some of the seven species have been discovered to possess scientifically proven beneficial medicinal value. Results of a study carried out by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, together with the Agriculture Research Organization, proved that olive trees (one of Israel’s seven species) prevent desertification. Olive trees planted in the Negev desert are thriving, as they need little care and don’t require pesticides. In fact, the planting of olive trees to stop desertification has been so successful, some scientists are now worried Israel may lose much of its beautiful desert before long! In addition to providing shade and food for desert wildlife and migrating birds, olives also produce excellent extra-virgin olive oil, proven to protect against heart disease, arteriosclerosis, colon cancer and gall bladder disease.

The pomegranate, also one of the seven species, has been proven to lower blood pressure, prevent breast and prostate cancer, and is widely used in the cosmetics industry. Israeli researchers, under Professor Michael Aviram at the Technion in Haifa, found that pomegranates and wine derived from red grapes can protect against arteriosclerosis. Pomegranates are also employed in the beauty and cosmetics industry.

Grapes and grape seeds, another of the seven species, have been scientifically proven to protect against cancer and heart disease. Today, growing vineyards span the Land of Israel, from the Golan in the far north down to the southern corner near Eilat. Their harvests produce high quality wines, and are also consumed as fresh grapes and raisins. Much scientific research is being conducted on the healing properties of grape seeds in preventing cancer, and possibly even Alzheimer’s Disease.

The native Judean Date Palms (yet another of the seven species) are now extinct in the Land of Israel. Those lush date groves seen flourishing near Ein Gedi and other places near the Dead Sea and the Arava are California imports. Miraculously, a date seed estimated to be over 2000 years old, was found at Masada.   Lovingly cared for at Kibbutz Ketura in the Arava, this date seed, aptly named Methuselah, has now sprouted into a young sapling – offering great hope that the original native species of dates once covering the land of Israel will be restored.

Wild Flowers in the Spring

Not sure when’s the best time of year to visit Israel?

An excellent choice is during Spring.

When it’s Spring in Israel –

  • the weather is not too hot or too cold;
  • the country is still green from winter rains;
  • the mountains and valleys are rich with colorful wildflowers and blossoming fruit trees.

The first blossoms spotted in Israel in the spring are the delicate small white and pink flowers of the almond tree, which almost always blooms at Tu B’Shvat  time (the New Year of the trees). Besides being very nutritious, almonds provide an oil, highly valued by the cosmetics industry.

Despite its small size, Israel has also been blessed with a relative abundance of wildflowers, many of which contain healing properties. Unfortunatelysome are in real danger of becoming extinct, and in an attempt to protect these wildflowers, strict laws make it illegal to pick them. To this end, the Jerusalem Botanical Garden maintains the  Adopt-a-Plant’ project, offering the public an opportunity to donate money towards preserving one of 400 endangered species.

Seven species in Israel

Calaniot (Anemone) Photo: Josephine Levin, All Rights Reserved

Ecological Bridge

Israel also goes to great lengths to protect its wildlife. A special ecological bridge is scheduled to be constructed over the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Road#1, at Sha’ar Hagai, enabling animals to safely cross from one side of the highway to the other. This ecological corridor is designed to stand 70 meters wide, and at least 2.5 billion shekels is to be expended in this effort to save animals, such as deer, jackals, foxes and more. The project is hoped to be instrumental in saving people’s lives as well, too often lost  in car collisions with large animals, like deer.

Wildlife Reserves

At the ‘Yotvata Chai Bar’  National Biblical Wildlife Reserve (near Eilat) and the ‘Carmel Chai Bar’  (part of the Carmel Forest National Park, near Haifa),  animals which had become extinct in Israel, are now being bred and re-introduced into the wild.

Gazelle Park

Jerusalem’s Gazelle Park is slated to finally become ‘official’.  Believe it or not, a herd of gazelles has been living on a patch of land in the heart of Jerusalem, on property which developers wanted to use to build a shopping center and apartment buildings.

Locals, who loved to spot gazelles roaming through this parcel of land surrounded by major roads and freeways on all sides, invested great effort to receive permission for them to remain, yielding unexpected  positive results. Construction is now underway to transform it into Israel’s first urban nature Wildlife Reserve, and soon, Jerusalemites, visitors, and tourists will be able to view these gazelles up close!

Re-Planting Forests

Israel also works hard on protecting its forests. During Biblical and Talmudic times, forests practically covered the land; however, under the Ottoman rule, they were subsequently destroyed, transforming the land into barren wilderness. When Jews returned to Israel in the last century, they were determined to replant the forests, which was mainly achieved by Keren Kayemet LeIsrael (KKL) and the Jewish National Fund (JNF).


Tiny Israel is home to over 2,700 species of plants.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Lisa Dershowitz says:

    I really enjoyed your article. I was wondering if you would be available for a possible interview via skype, email, or in person this summer. I ask as I am a current graduate student at Miami University studying ecotourism in Israel. Any information would help me and I would greatly appreciate it.
    Thank you
    Lisa Dershowitz

    • blogmanager says:

      Thanks for contacting us Lisa, we would be happy to speak with you. We will contact you directly to arrange a time.
      Best, RJ

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