Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Rishpon Project

Yesterday we had a team meeting of the Rishpon Project. It consists in an a large abandoned house with a memorial park attached (see the stone with the names of those fallen in the wars of Israel). The house carries the name of the family that built it during the English colonial times, and has a beautiful hilltop position on the "kurkar" (red sandstone) facing the sea to the West and the long valley called Bassa (bitza in Hebrew) meaning swamp. The area was malarial during the Turkish and English eras, allowing the first Zionists settlers to purchase the land relatively cheap. Till the swamp was drained, hundreds of pioneers died of fever. Interestingly, Josephus - two thousand years ago - describes the valley as a paradise, and in fact the Municipality of Herzlia discovered (in my times as its employee) a Roman tunnel across the ridge that drained the valley. After the Arab conquest of Eretz Israel, the tunnel was not maintained and the valley became of pestilent swamp. I sat in the shade of that pine tree in the background and walked away with resin in my pants. The tree is full of Argentine "loros barranqueros" a green social parrot, very noisy. Somebody brought in a pair and they reproduced mightily.

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