In honor of Tu Bishvat, IDF soldiers planted 1,532 trees in the vicinity of Nachal Oz, on the Gazan border in southern Israel. The 1,532 trees signify the 1,532 rockets fired by Hamas terrorists at Israel from Gaza during Operation “Pillar of Defense.”
The event was held in conjunction with the Jewish National Fund (JNF). Titled “A Plant for Each Rocket,” some 800 soldiers participated in the event. The commander of the Education Corps, Brigadier General Eli Shermeister, conducted the event, which was also attended by the Southern Command CO Major-General Tal Ruso and JNF World Chairman Effi Stezler.
The trees will provide shelter from direct gun fire aimed at Israeli residents from the Gaza Strip. The road around Nachal Oz has been the scene of several shooting incidents over the years, some of which have caused fires in the area.
Another eleven communities will receive similar protection in the near future, bringing the total of planted trees to 7.5m. The focus is on roads which are situated near the security fence.
The tree chosen for the task is the eucalyptus, which according to experts will provide the necessary cover: they are tall will shield residential areas, and are quick to grow, supplying the needed protection in a short period of time. These trees will further contribute to growing the bee honey industry in the vicinity.
Effi Stezler stated during the event: “We are planting these trees to provide protection for the civilian passengers on the roads, and to offer defense for the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, these trees will provide oxygen and honey. We believe that these trees, which have previously provided shelter in the Golan Heights from the Syrians years ago, will now protect the residents of southern Israel.”