Bear and Badger were still only seven months old, and they needed a lot of care and training. They had to learn that this was their territory. Their job was to protect the trees from deer, foxes, and other animals, in addition to anything else that could harm them.
On Wednesday, Mack and Tessa did the same thing they did every day. Normally, when they arrived at the tree planting site, they would see Bear and Badger jumping up on the inside of their pen, eager to see their trainers and hungry for their breakfast. This day, there was no sign of the dogs. When Mack and Tessa saw that many of the cages around the trees were also bent and twisted and scattered all over the ground, they knew something was wrong. They sprinted for the dog kennel.
When they arrived, it was empty. Just food and water bowls, leashes, and an empty fence lay where the Dutch Shepherds should have been. There were paw prints around the outside of the pen, but within a few feet, they disappeared.
Nothing in the land of Israel is easy. Unfortunately, not everyone who lives here wants to see the land be rid of its desolate landscape that has plagued these mountains for 2,000 years.
In an unprecedented project, TV Visjon Norge (a TV network in Norway), as well as people from all over the world, partnered with HaYovel to plant thousands of trees. Our goal for this Greening Israel project? Simply to restore Israel’s barren mountains. Planting trees is a proven way to rid the land of the thorn bush, restore soil, and bring back the natural water sources on these barren hills.
In November of 2020, our team of dedicated volunteers from all over the world planted more than 2,000 trees on the mountains of Samaria.
Strong, able bodies swung hoes to clear the land of the ancient thorn bush. Then a team with pick axes dug holes three feet in diameter for each tree. Another team assembled wire cages to place around each tree. Yet another team hauled loads of mulch from hundreds of yards away, load by load. In the meantime strong young men carried rocks to each tree hole. They had to be placed on the cages to keep them from being blown over or susceptible to animals knocking them over in an attempt to get to the trees.
Finally, the saplings were put into the ground, a cage placed around each one, and rocks placed on the sides to hold them down. Then a wheelbarrow load of mulch was piled high around every tree. Finally, each tree was lovingly watered to give it the best possible start in life. With God’s help, in 10-20 years, there will be a forest here, just like there was in biblical times.
This week, the Arabs living in close proximity to our forestry project in Samaria showed their disdain for the land coming back to life. During the night, they snuck in, uprooted 256 trees, smashed the cages, carried the saplings off with them, and stole Bear and Badger, our Dutch Shepherds who were still puppies in training.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. HaYovel works with many families and farmers throughout Judea and Samaria who face similar attacks on a regular basis.
What threat are these trees to the Arab people? The Greening Israel project is not even a farm project, where we expect to receive a tangible return on our investment. The goal is simply to restore the land to its former beauty, fulfill biblical prophecy, and remove the desolation from the land.
The damage caused to the tree project this week, including steps we are taking to make sure it will not happen again, will cost us at least $16,000. We do not know if we will be able to recover Bear and Badger, but we will replant the trees. We are determined that God’s Word will prevail in the land of Israel.
Please join HaYovel in our vision to restore God’s Kingdom here in the land of Israel by investing in our end of year fundraising campaign.
We will continue planting trees in Israel’s heartland. You can join us.