Sorting the seeds
Sorting the seedsCourtesy

In a time of uncertainty, despair and pain, it is important to engage in activities that allow us relief and respite.

Seeds of Hope, a collaborative initiative by Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) and the Shamir Research Institute for Science, focuses on preserving nature and fostering a sense of belonging to nature and the environment.

The initiative invites members of the Golan Heights communities to actively participate in the preservation and distribution of rare wild plants indigenous to the Golan Heights and Mount Hermon region. The underlying belief is that bringing people together for this cause will not only offer relief but also empower them to better cope with the challenges of our current, unpredictable reality.

The volunteers in the project will sort seeds stored in the Shamir Research institute, separate them, and plant them in the communities nearby. In addition, each volunteer will conduct research, including collecting relevant data and using special science kits distributed by KKL-JNF and the Shamir Research institute.

The educational program will be complemented by a weekly quiz called the Basalt Quiz, named after the rock that is a defining feature of the Golan Heights. This quiz aims to provide an opportunity for learning, relaxation, and refreshment. Additionally, communities interested in participating will receive seeds and guidelines to establish community gardens utilizing these unique seeds. Sixty (60) schools have already enrolled in the program, perhaps an indication of the Israeli people's desire to unite and take collective action during these challenging times.

Doron Markel, chief scientist of KKL-JNF, said: "We are more than happy to be able to carry out this significant research-oriented project in collaboration with the communities in Golan heights. These challenging times have brought about various hardships and concerns, but we aspire that through this collective endeavor, we can foster regional unity and bring people together while enhancing our understanding and deepening our connection with nature."

"KKL-JNF remains committed to providing support to those affected by the war and working for the well-being of both the Israeli people and our country's natural environment. Together, we aim to overcome the challenges we are facing, bloom, and create a brighter future for our country."

Dr. Mercedes Edri, Director of the Agricultural and Environmental Research Station at Shamir Research Institute, added: "Initiating and executing Seeds of Hope project, during the Iron Swords War, is a message to the residents of the Golan Heights and the State of Israel, that we are here to stay. Our mission is the preservation of the Golan nature by restoring it to urban areas - in communities, kindergartens, private gardens and wherever our hearts desire."

"The initiative operates across all age groups, young and old, in both Jewish communities and Druze villages, from the northern to the southern Golan and the Hermon, where people come together to separate seeds for their re-distribution to the communities, and plant them. Additionally, we have launched a national quiz, the Basalt Quiz, dealing with issues related to nature, the environment, history, and other Golan-related topics.

"The flowering of wildflowers symbolizes the good days to come after the war. Come and join us in being a part of this message and mission."