While we see modern Israel as a token of  the coming Kingdom of God and a sign of  Christ’s return, the Jewish state is really  no different from any other contemporary country.  Israel is a modern, progressive nation, interested in  the development of its resources and the well-being  and prosperity of its people. The following selection  of news reports from Israel on quite diverse topics  illustrates the variety of life and experience in the modern Jewish state.

Desert rhubarb

First we look at research into the plant life of the Negev, the dry southern region of the country. Israel’s academics take a close interest in the land and their studies lead to some interesting discoveries. Recently, professors from the University of Haifa, Simcha Lev-Yadun, Gidi Ne’eman and Gadi Katzir, have found that a rare plant growing in the Negev makes highly efficient use of rain fall[1]. Investigating the desert rhubarb, Rheum Palaestinum, they found that its broad, wax covered leaves with many grooves created a unique irrigation system that channels rainwater straight to its roots. This allowed the plant to receive as much as sixteen times the amount of rainwater that falls on it each year. It also takes the water ten centimetres under the earth to the deepest part of its roots.

While today Israeli scientists seek to learn how to maximise scarce water resources by studying the plant life of the Negev, when Christ returns there will be vast changes t o t h e a r i d environment of parts of Israel. Isaiah writes of a future time when “the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose”, and “waters break out, and streams in the desert” (35:1, 6). That time of blessing Christ will bring when he returns very soon.

A Dead Sea canal

Israel has reached agreement with the World Bank to fund a pilot project to investigate the construction of a canal linking the Red Sea and the Dead Sea[2]. The Dead Sea Canal Project is described as one of the most ambitious water projects in the world and would involve the construction of waterworks 112 miles (187km) in length. The pilot project involves the construction of a pipeline between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea by 2011 to test the feasibility of the project.

A new source of fresh water and hydroelectric power, and the revival of the Dead Sea are among the benefits that are suggested from the project. Large desalination plants treating water for use by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority are also feasible.

All these efforts will, of course, be superseded  by the great developments under the rule of Christ.  The waters of the Dead Sea will be healed as a  result of far reaching topographical changes in  the Land at that time (Ezek 47:8).

Torah from vending machines

A vending machine at the Jerusalem Central Bus  Station is dispensing booklets that help Jews learn  from the Torah[3]. It is a way of encouraging people  to use their spare time by learning Torah for a few  minutes each day, say the operators. For a small  cost, people receive a booklet covering a portion of  Jewish law and part of the weekly Torah reading.


It is unlikely that we will see vending machines  dispensing Bible readings at bus or train stations in  Australia anytime soon, but we do have the tables of  the Bible Companion compiled by Brother Roberts  to help us to read the Bible every day. Most copies  of the Bible Companion also include a list of the  commandments of Christ, and we can familiarise  ourselves with the commandments by reading a few  each day. In this way we can grow to know and love  our heavenly Father Who daily provides all our needs.



[1] Yehudah Lev Kay, ‘Israeli Scientists Discover “Self-Watering” Desert Plant’, Israelnationalnews.com, 5 July2009 ttp://www.israelnationalnews.com/SendMail.aspx?print=print&type=0&item=132212

[2] David Shamah, ‘World Bank to Fund Dead Sea-RedSea Canal Test Project’, sraelnationalnews.com 27June 2009 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/132081

[3] Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, ‘Vending machines dispenseTorah learning’, sraelnationalnews.com 25 February2009 http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/