Springing to Life

Scientists from Israel, France, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), planted date palm seeds determined to be approximately two-thousand years old, discovered in southern Israel from 1963-1991. “Hundreds of seeds were discovered from Judean archaeological sites such as an ancient palace-fortress built by King Herod,” along with other locations.

Out of the hundreds of seeds, thirty-four were selected, and six of those sprouted, “and were given the names of Jonah, Uriel, Boaz, Judith, Hannah, and Adam.”

Previously, in 2005, a single plant was germinated and named Methuselah. “Five years ago National Geographic reported that Methuselah was over 10 feet tall and had been used to pollinate a wild modern female date palm. Scientists determined that Methuselah was of the Hayany breed brought from Egypt.” They hope that Hannah will flower this year and “the plant could be pollinated by Methuselah.”

The Hayany breed of date palm was known for its sweetness, size, (the seeds were found to be 30% larger than date seeds today) nutritional benefits, and shelf life “enabling them to be exported throughout the Roman Empire.” It also had known medicinal benefits of treating respiratory problems and depression. Scientists believe it can treat modern ills like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer.

In the days of the Temple, seven species special to the land of Israel were allowed to be used as plant offerings. Deuteronomy 8:8 records the useable species: “A land of wheat and barley, vines, figs, and pomegranates, olive trees and honey.” “Dates were one of the species, described in the Bible as honey.”

David Ben-Gurion said, “You cannot live in Israel, unless you believe in miracles!” I think germinating 2,000 year old seeds to hopefully one day flourish in the land qualifies as such a miracle!

(Source: Breaking Israel News by Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz)