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Water: the blessing, the curse—and Israel

By Tuvia Brodie
5/29/2014, 6:05 PM

Humans need water. Without water, we do not survive.

 We need water to drink. We need water to grow our food.  We need water to cleanse our sewage. We need water to make cement. We need water to run factories. We need water to cook our food.

But in America, the European Union and the Arab Middle East, water supplies shrink. It becomes a depleting asset. Its absence has become a curse.

The Arab Middle East is dry as bone.  Europe suffers from an extended drought. America is looking at some of the worst drought conditions in history.

It’s a curse. Crops don’t grow. Cattle don’t feed. Forest fires rage, threatening not only land, but human life and property.  

In Europe, drought is turning into a major disaster (“Press Release: Europe to suffer from more severe and persistent droughts”, European Geosciences Union, January 2014). It threatens to create social and environmental catastrophes.

In the Arab Middle East, the sun is unrelenting, unforgiving. The Arab Middle East is cursed by a process called, ‘desertification’.  Every year, Arab farmland transforms, slowly but inevitably, from arable land to desert sand.

In America, water has become so scarce it has a name: the 2010-2014 drought. This is at least the second major drought of the 21st century—and we’ve barely begun the century. It spreads across most of the USA—with no signs that it will end any time soon (“Map: U.S. struggles through four years of drought,” Aljazeera America, March 24, 2014).

The American drought has affected more than 90 percent of the High Plains and over 60 percent of the West (ibid). California, which leads all other states in farm income (“What happens if US loses California food production?”, The Farm Press, October 31, 2013),  is on pace to have its worst drought in history (“Map: US struggles…”, above).

But in Israel, drought does not threaten to become a disaster. It doesn’t eat up cropland. It doesn’t force farmers out of business. It doesn’t threaten to reduce food growth.

In Israel, water is not a curse. It’s a blessing.  Desertification does not happen in Israel. The reverse happens:  barren desert becomes farmland (“Israel turns barren desert into useful and arable land”, IsraelSeen.com, July 19, 2012).

Water issues do not devastate Israel’s agriculture. Israel’s agriculture growth is 4 per cent higher than the United Kingdom, 7 per cent higher than France, 37 times higher than Egypt.

Israel’s agriculture doesn’t suffer because of water issues. It thrives.

Israel is blessed. You can see that blessing when you drive south into the parched, tan Negev desert. On both sides of the highway, you’ll not only see the burnt tan tones of desert sand, you’ll also see the green of farmland crops—sometimes, as far as the eye can see.

That’s not just a blessing. That’s a miracle.

If water is one instrument through which the G-d of Israel blesses or curses us, the world’s weather patterns show us clearly who is blessed and who is cursed. You become very much aware of that Holy calculus when you see the startling green farmland of Israel’s Negev.

The desert in the Negev shows you how G-d blesses the Jewish people and the Jewish state. The droughts of America, the Arab Middle East and the European Union show you how G-d has the Power to use water to curse.

The Jewish Torah told the world more than 3,000 years ago that those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed (B’reisheet 12:3). That has never been a secret.

It’s also no secret why the Arab Middle East—sharing the same dirt, desert and weather as Israel—suffers a horrible desertification. They curse Israel.

The Arab curses—and his land tranforms to dust. Why should you be surprised by that?

It’s no secret that much of Europe has turned against the Jewish people. Many in Europe curse the Jew. Europe’s land dries. The land withholds its bounty. Weather patterns seem to curse the European landscape.

Why should you be surprised?

In life, you always reap what you sow. Why should the Arabs and the Europeans be exempt from that?

Finally, it’s no secret that the current American Administration does not bless the Jewish state. It’s also no secret that too many of America’s farms turn into dry, cursed dirt.

Yes, these water--and environmental--problems all derive from natural phenomena. But G-d controls those phenomena.

Water: it can be a blessing. It can be a curse.

If you want proof of the blessing, look at Israel.

If you want proof of the curse, look at the Arab—and the Europeans, and the Americans.

What does the blessing of water teach you about Israel? What does the curse teach you?