Israel is one of the leading exporters of flowers and related agricultural products - It is a fact: Israel is third in the world in exporting flowers to the EC countries. You can also order Israeli flowers in the USA. Israeli flower export is a $200 million annual business. It seems unlikely that our arid climate could be growing flowers to compete with Holland, but it is true. Hothouses, hi-tech innovation and ingenious irrigation schemes make up for lack of water and help take advantage of our long sunlit days to produce flowers in abundance in winter, in time for Valentine's day. Continued here
Pro-Palestinian groups are trying to boycott Israeli flower export, an evil Zionist plot, on the pretext that they are grown in "the territories." However, most Israeli produce, including flowers, is grown inside Israel proper. The Israeli flower export industry began in the late 1950s, when the West Bank was part of Jordan and Gaza was held by Egypt.
So if you support Israel but do not live here, make a point of asking for flowers imported from Israel. Check that the flowers have a bar code ending 7 290.
I confess to having played a tiny part in this Zionist conspiracy. My parents were anxious to make a special bar mitzvah celebration for me. Our family was not rich, but all the other kids at my Hebrew school had fancy bar mitzvot. Mine could not be quite as fancy, but it would be special. An uncle in Israel had a friend who wanted to see if it was possible to export flowers by air to the United States. My mother was a flower freak. With some difficulty, she arranged to have dozens of bouquets of gladiolii flown in from Israel.
The flowers were flown in by special air freight, and had to be picked up on the day of the event from a freight hangar at Idlewild airport, then undergoing extensive modifications to accomodate jet airliners. We set off for the airport in our little second hand green two tone Nash Rambler, a vehicle that had seen better days. On the way, my father had picked up a Yiddish comedian, who was also to appear at the Bar Mitzvah.
Searching for the obscure hangar, our route took us across several runways. Crossing one of them, an automatic gate went down ahead. My father tried to put the car in reverse and back out. The little Nash Rambler would not reverse. In fact, it would not move. A gate went down behind us. Presently, a DC-6 airliner came taxiing down the runway, headed for our car. This was a source of a certain amount of anxiety. The DC-6 was not large compared to today's jumbo jets, but it was more than a match for a little green Nash Rambler. The plane stopped, and just stood there impatiently, its propellors whirring about expectantly. Eventually, the rear gate was opened, the car was pushed off the runway and coaxed back to functionality. Naturally, the comedian had to repeat and embellish this story at the bar mitzvah banquet.
Happy Valentine's day. Don't forget to send flowers - From Israel.
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