New landowners prepare to plant trees in their plots
New landowners prepare to plant trees in their plotsBuy A Piece Of Israel

A group of Jews from all walks of life gathered in a field near the city of Rosh Pina in northern Israel, to share in the unifying cause of working the land of Israel.

Each new landlord has taken full, legal ownership of a modest parcel of agricultural land in the Upper Galilee region of Israel, and arrived on Tuesday to view their plot and plant olive trees.

The event included an exhibition buy the Israel Dog Unit, a nonprofit specializing in security dogs, which showed some of the techniques used to protect the newly purchased land from agricultural crime or terrorism.

The initiative is known as "Buy A Piece Of Israel", and specializes in helping Jews around the world navigate the complexities of Israeli real estate ownership and take a personal stake in the land of Israel.

Buy A Piece Of Israel simplifies the process of buying, owning, and working the land, as well as presenting manageable prices for those that would otherwise find themselves well below the financial threshold for owning land in Israel. Approximately five hundred dunams (each equal to approximately a quarter of an acre) have been bought in this manner, with the most recent planting covering 13 dunams.

Joel Busner, founder of Buy A Piece Of Israel, explains the idea behind the movement: “The only way to keep the Land of Israel, besides to buy it when you can, is to work it. If it’s yours, you’ll love it, and if you love it, you’ll keep it, and you’ll keep it well.”

"Jewish ownership of the land is a winning move in every way. Our enemies cannot continue to take over the land without a struggle. The owners fulfill the many commandments that can only be realized by owning the land such as the prohibition of working the land on a Sabbatical year, or of planting mixed species, or tithing the crop. There are economic benefits as well - this increases Jewish residency and labor opportunities, and helps to increase sovereignty in the Galilee region."

"We put a financial incentive behind each purchase too - as an agricultural property, the land is planted with olive trees, which are farmed and can make the owner a modest profit once the biblical prohibition on new fruit has expired.

These issues have drawn attention from Israel's government as well. Settlement and National Missions Minister Orit Strock commented to Haaretz that there was a need for more young families to live in the Galilee region to increase the Jewish demographic in the region, but the high price prevented families from moving to the area. “We need to forcefully lower the prices to enable young families to live there. Otherwise, we will get more people who will buy summer homes there, and that's not what we need.”

MK Matan Kahana (National Unity) likewise spoke in favor of increasing Jewish presence in the Galilee: "We don't need to be afraid to say 'Judaization of the Galilee'. This is not a matter of right or left; this is a matter of sovereignty and of protecting the land."

One of the participants commented on the program: "I've always wanted to own land. I was looking at different places to buy, then I heard about this and realized that of course the best place to buy land was here, in Israel. It is the only place for so many commandments, and the only way to keep them is by owning land."

Another participant commented on the planting “It feels like we are returning after too long away from the land. Every ethnicity is here - a true ingathering of our exile.”

Amnon Tadmor, who helps develop the purchased land, commented: "I am a fourth-generation Israeli farmer, and there has been no such thing as this since the 1950s - Jewish Zionists actually coming to work the land, like in the early days of Israel. It is a scene from decades ago.”

Dr. Yaakov Abrams, another participant in the project, said, “My wife’s family bought a share in the Jewish Colonial Trust a hundred years ago. Now, we’re realizing that vision.”

Tov Dovid Wachs, who purchased a plot, added, “I love land and I love the land here. It’s a beautiful opportunity to be able to come here, to fulfill the commandment of settling the Land of Israel, to plant one of the biblical Seven Species, and, hopefully, in a few years, to have beautiful olives and plenty of oil that we can take and make a blessing on.”