How Zionists made the land bloom by eradicating malaria
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has come under attack from Israel-haters for saying the truth that Israel “literally made the desert bloom.” The Palestinian foreign ministry condemned her, calling her statement a “racist trope”.
One of the ways the Zionists made the land bloom is by draining swamps and eradicating malaria.
Just 20 years later, the Zionist anti-malaria campaign changed everything.
In 1941 the British Mandate reported that ‘In a number of areas where intense endemic malaria had resulted in no population for generations, recent antimalarial schemes have created large tracts of cultivatable land’ and that ‘very large areas of what is recognised by all as some of the most fertile land in the country have been reclaimed, after centuries of waste’.
Early attempts to drain the swamps relied on the Eucalyptus, a very ‘thirsty’ tree brought from Australia which uses up to 200 litres of water a day.
A 1911 report entitled ‘Zionist Work in Palestine’ reported that 400,000 eucalyptus trees had been planted to drain the soil.
EUCALYPTUS FOREST NEAR EIN HAROD
Despite the early efforts, pre-WW1 efforts to eradicate malaria generally failed. Many died of malaria and many others left.
Kligler focused on education. He pointed out that it was possible to obtain the population’s active cooperation only after the population understood fully the significance and value of the work.
The anti-mosquito campaign was concerned with limiting the breeding in wells, cisterns and other man receptacles by regular inspections and spraying of repellents.
One of the new methods that Kligler initiated was the introduction of Gambusia fish to water sources in the country in 1923. The fish eat mosquito larvae as soon as they hatch from the eggs. The fish turned out to be an effective biological means against mosquito's larvae. The result was the almost total eradication of malaria in the upper Jordan by using where appropriate combinations of anti-larval fish and drainage techniques.
Male mosquito larvae eating Gambusia affinis
Swamps were dried by building drainage channels and the swamps were sprayed with pesticide.
The draining work in malaria-infected areas was very dangerous and many lost their lives.
Swamp draining at Yagur, 1924
A Jewish girl throwing larvicide in Emek Hefer.
After the State of Israel declared its independence, anti-malaria efforts continued, and in 1967 the World Health Organization declared malaria eliminated in Israel.
Yes, Ursula von der Leyen is correct. Zionists did make the land bloom.
Postscript by Elder:
My response to seeing the "racist trope" accusation on Twitter was to post this snippet of an article in Scientific American, April 1960:
You can also see a collection of how Israel has been a leader in green tech here.
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