Kibbutznicks plant trees to protect against Gaza snipers

Kibbutz members & KKL plant trees as a screen against terrorist snipers, shooting at Israelis living close to the Gaza border.

By REUTERS

 

 

Trees are often used as a screen to block out undesirable views, but in Israel they’re about to be planted as a screen against rocket attacks on Israelis living close to the border with the Gaza Strip.

Tree plantingThe IDF first used trees as a line of defense as the modern state of Israel was being established, but say they can be just as effective today.

On an Israeli kibbutz, members planted Eucalyptus saplings along the road leading to Nahal Oz. Oxygen-producing and good for the environment, they’ll attract bees and allow the community to produce honey.

Mortar fire from across the Gaza border is an ever-present threat for those living close by, like these commune residents.

Two years ago a mortar, fired by militants towards a passing Israeli border patrol force, exploded inside the commune’s grounds. No-one was hurt but residents fear future attacks.

Kibbutz elders decided to dig out the history books in search of an answer.

“Some of the old folks who used to live in those kibbutz in a moshavim (farm collective) came with the idea that we can use an old way of dealing with it…the name of security plantation came back,” Public Relations spokesperson for Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and the Jewish National Fund.

Elisha Mizrahi is a spokesman for the Jewish National Fund, which has joined forces with the Israeli army to create their defense plan.

“We take trees that can grow fast enough, like eucalyptus trees, plant them between the roads and the areas where threat is coming from,” Mizrahi said.

But opinion among residents about their effectiveness, is mixed.

A resident of Nahal Oz Kibbutz, Aviad Harlev, said: “The planting is good but only for snipers’ fire, it doesn’t play a role against rocket fire.”

Rachel Bala added: “I think that it’s a really cool idea. It’s good for nature as well as cheap. I don’t feel completely safe with it but I think that having it is good.” A twelve kilometer line of trees is being planted in an effort to protect 11 different Israeli communities.

Defensive forestation was a tactic used when the modern state of Israel was first created. These days, hi-tech defensive measures like the ‘Iron Dome’ missile system are also favored, but Fund leaders believe this natural approach has a significant role to play in keeping communities safe.

 

View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Features/InThespotlight/Article.aspx?id=305935

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