Agriculture in Israel

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The Israelis who thrive in the desert making it bloom with peppers, olive trees and flowers are realizing the romantic vision of the country's founders. To walk through orchards of palm trees in the middle of wilderness is breathtaking enough to entice even a suburban couch potato.

But the work isn't for the fleeting romantic enticed by Sukkot's outdoor existence. While desert farmers derive satisfaction from working the land, they also endure some of the most mundane tasks possible. Iddo Korman, who grows flowers on Moshav Sde Nitsan in the Negev, said he knew the farming life was for him when, as a volunteer on a kibbutz, he was given the task of weeding 800 dunams (32 acres) of fields--and enjoyed it.

"It's a wonderful way of living. It's not as much a materialistic mentality as city people are in,'' Korman said. "I saw meaning in the connection to the land. The thing that binds the Jewish people together must be the land.''

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Joshua Mitnick is a freelance journalist living in Israel. His articles have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Newsday, The Toronto Star, The Newark Star Ledger, and The Washington Times.