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Seeds from biblical era grow trees in contemporary Israel

Date trees from the Biblical period are coming to life in Israel.

As part of a project led by Sarah Sallon, the founder and director of Hadassah Medical Organization’s Natural Medicine Research Center, farmers are using date seeds that date back to the Biblical era to grow trees. The date seeds are over 2000-year-old and are used for a scientific experiment that Sallon started more than 15 years ago.

Referring to the Bible as the “guidebook of ancient species,” Sallon wanted to find out the medical properties of Israel’s flora in the past. Christian Headlines reports:


“We’re talking about the resurrection of 2000-year-old plus ancient date seeds that come from the Judean Desert and from Masada and which are part of a scientific experiment,” Sarah Sallon, the  Director and Founder of the Natural Medicine Research Center at Hadassah Medical Organization, Jerusalem told CBN News in a recent interview.


Sallon, who is a medical doctor, explained that she began the unique project over 15 years ago after expressing interest in natural medicine.


“I wanted to see how medicinal the flora of Israel was and what it had been used for and so on. And then I realized that many of these species had actually disappeared,” she explained. “And we knew what there was, because it’s mentioned in the Bible. The Bible is our guidebook of ancient species,” she added.

Biblical names such as Judith, Jonah, Adam, Hannah and Methuselah have been used to name the date trees.

As reported by Faithwire , one nine-year-old tree named Judith was recently planted in the Ancient Judean Date Orchard in Kibbutz Ketura, near Israel’s Arava Desert. The tree spent the last nine years of its life growing in a greenhouse.


Judith is also the fifth tree of its kind to be planted in the orchard, following trees Methuselah, Adam, Jonah and Hannah.


“We are planting our second female date tree, who was sprouted from an ancient seed. Actually, this one came from Qumran — was found in the caves — and much to our astonishment, she also sprouted,” Elaine Solowey, the botanist who prompted the seeds to grow, told CBN News.


Hannah, the first female date tree, was planted in 2019 and was pollinated by Methuselah. Hannah bore around 100 dates in 2021. So far, the tree has produced more than 600 dates this year.


Judean date seemingly vanished hundreds of years ago, but according to the Bible, it was one of the seven date species found in ancient Israel.


“Now you say well, but we see dates all the way along here, palm trees and all the kibbutzim are growing plants,” Sallon said. “And I look at the plantations on Ketura. Those date palms of modern-day Israel are modern, and they were imported after the founding of the State in the 1950s. But they’re not the original date tree that grew here.”


Solowey has planted around 3,000 date trees on Kibbutz Ketura, with each tree reportedly producing around 350 pounds of dates each year. She and Salone hope to add the revived Judean dates to the rest of their harvest in years to come.

Read the full article here.

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