“’I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,’ says the LORD your God.’” (Amos 9:15)
The Israeli government will be providing bomb shelters to farm workers working in fields near the border with the Gaza Strip. Unfortunately, this will not protect them from mortar attacks which come with no warning.
The willingness of farmers to keep working under such dangerous conditions is commendable. Working in the fields, they have had no access to shelters. The new shelters will help change that.
Minister of Agriculture Yair Shamir in announcing the new program said, “In order to maintain the settlement of communities within the Gaza perimeter, which strengthen the country’s border, today we began installing shelters for farmers in order to enable them to continue their daily work and prevent economic losses without risking their lives and those of their workers.” (jspace)
Many of those same farmers have continued working in their fields without benefit of such shelters. A total of 120 portable shelters have been promised.
Israel Farmers Union chairman Yaron Solomon applauded the government’s efforts saying, “It touches my heart that the government authorities really care about the farmers and the workers in open fields,” adding that the best thing would be if the shelters were not needed.
Many of the rockets that are fired from the Strip fall in agricultural fields. Until now, no farmer has been hurt, but the crops and fields have suffered. The government has committed to assisting those farmers who have suffered losses to crops and livestock.
The director of Yofi Shel Yerakhot (Beautiful Vegetables) a cooperative of farmers in the Negev, said that their members as well as their workers (many of whom are Thai foreign workers), are committed to working the extra hours needed to assure a steady supply of vegetables to Israeli tables despite the crisis of Hamas bombing.
Another group of foreign workers—500 Christian volunteers—will be arriving over the next three months to help farmers in Judea and Samaria. They have come as a part of a trip organized by the American Christian organization HaYovel (the Jubilee).
Without electricity or running water in an Amish/Mennonite community, HaYovel’s founder, Tommy Waller, developed a successful family farm while learning organic farming methods.
After taking a trip to Israel in 2004, Tommy realized he had skills and resources that small farmers in Israel needed. A year later, HaYovel was birthed “to strengthen and undergird the often overlooked small independent farmer in Israel through creative networking, education, tourism, and activism.”
HaYovel volunteers are now arriving from several countries, including the US, Canada, Norway, and New Zealand to help farmers in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). They will be working the land until September 25 when the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) rings in a sabbatical year for the land known as shmitta.
During shmitta, the land gets to rest and is not harvested, so the HaYovel volunteers are expecting to do triple harvesting for the rest of this sixth year. After that, the group will refocus their efforts on getting the message out to support Israel.
When asked what motivates the volunteers to come here, especially during wartime, Tommy Waller’s son, Zac, replied that “right now is the most important time to support Israel.” He also said that most of the volunteers are Christian, so they believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and that “it’s the Jewish People’s right to be here in the land.”
The volunteers also believe they are part of fulfilling prophecy. Zac’s brother, Brayden, recalled the prophet Isaiah who said that “strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.” (Isaiah 61:5)
“We are here to support the farmers and reestablish this land,” Brayden emphasized. (Arutz Sheva)
To show even more support for Israel, Zac Waller recently released a country music video that he wrote and sings in entitled “Israel You’re Not Alone.”
The group also posted a request for Christians worldwide to join in the movement by sending videos of themselves holding a sign showing their support for Israel. They received responses from the UK, America, Australia, South Africa and Canada.