Southern Israel under heavy fire, 11 wounded
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 | Ryan Jones
Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip fired more than 50 rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel on Tuesday and into Monday morning. Eleven border policemen were wounded in one of the attacks.
The attacks began during the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, and continued with a hail of rocket fire throughout the day. The only casualties reported were from a direct missile strike on a building near the coastal town of Ashkelon, where 11 officers with Israel’s Border Police suffered light-to-moderate shrapnel injuries.
The assault continued on Wednesday morning with more short-range Kassam rocket attacks and at least one medium-range Grad missile attack that targeted the town of Beersheva.
Israeli forces responded with numerous overnight aerial raids on terrorist installations in Gaza. A number of terrorists were reportedly killed in the Israeli reprisals, but army officials cautioned that the situation was likely to get a lot more intense in the coming hours and days.
Gaza’s Hamas rulers have actually claimed responsibility for many of the rocket attacks, a departure from the group’s usual policy of letting smaller allied terror groups take the blame for attacks on southern Israel.
It is likely that Hamas is feeling emboldened by the assumed Muslim Brotherhood victory in Egypt’s presidential election. Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, and views the rise to power of the latter in neighboring Egypt as the start of a new era of “resistance” against the Zionist regime.
Israeli miracle in the Colombian desert
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 | Yossi Aloni
They said it couldn’t be done, but a group of Israeli agricultural experts have succeeded in helping local Colombian farmers grow potatoes in a harsh desert environment.
“From this desert you might receive stones, but not potatoes,” that’s what local farmers in Colombia’s northern La Guajira desert said when presented with an Israeli proposal to grow potatoes in the region.
A year later, Israeli know-how and technology has won the day, and produced nothing short of a miracle as local farmers have harvested 11 tons of potatoes from the desert.
La Guajira is a coal-producing region, and the company that processes most of that coal financed the potato project as a world-first experiment to get the tubers to grow in a desert climate. Typically, potatoes only grow in cooler climates where the soil has sufficient moisture. The success in La Guajira is considered a world-first for potato farming in dry, hot climates.
The project was the brain-child of Isaac Gilinski, a Colombian Jewish businessman who is currently serving as Colombia’s ambassador to Israel.
The son of Israeli immigrants, Gilinski knew well of Israel’s agricultural prowess and, with the help of Israeli agricultural expert Avi Nachmias, determined to bring that expertise to his country. Nachmias and others trained local Colombian farmers and helped install an Israeli irrigation system.
Officials from the Israeli Embassy in Bogota who visited the new La Guajira potato farms said, “The locals were in shock over this miracle. The farmers here are very conservative by nature, so it was not easy for them to break old habits and try something new. But from their point of view, this was a tremendous success, since a local potato harvest will create a lot of new income.”
Colombian officials are reportedly eager to repeat what they call the successful Israeli project in other parts of the country.