Eucalyptus tree
Eucalyptus treeIsrael news photo: Ethel Aardvark

The Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet L'Yisrael – KKL) plans to help protect Negev towns in the Gaza Belt region by planting trees. The leafy branches, officials believe, will help block the view of the towns from terrorists' eyes.

Short-range Kassam rockets and mortar shells are fired at Israel by terrorists in Gaza who aim their weapons visually, officials say.

Some 12 kilometers of trees will be planted to cover 11 towns along the border with Gaza. Most of the trees to be planted will be massive, fragrant eucalyptus, which can grow to a height of at least eight meters within five years.

Eucalyptus, which is resistant to drought, comes from Australia, and may help southern Israelis in more than one way.

The JNF began introducing a certain flowering variety of the eucalyptus tree in Israel about 13 years ago. The flowers were found to be extremely attractive to honey bees, which have faced difficulty in recent years due to the collapse of bee colonies around the world, affecting honey production.

Israeli beekeepers face difficulty because many native plants and flowers blossom only once a year in the spring, after the winter rains.

Eucalyptus trees, however, are considered “mega producers.” The trees bloom from April to September, with enough nectar and pollen to keep bees, their keepers, and their honey customers happy.