Saturday, November 26, 2016

Debunking the "pine libel"

Anti-Israel sites are anxious to pass responsibility for the current rash of fires in Israel back to the Jews. What better way to reclaim the mantle of eternal victimhood  than blaming the  Jewish National fund for planting pine trees during Israel's formative years, instead of, oh, lets say, this guy:

Read the truth about the "Pine libel" from the Elder of Ziyon

The pine tree that the JNF has been planting for so many years is the Aleppo pine, pinus halepensis (known in Israel as the Jerusalem pine.)  It is found throughout the Mediterranean, from Morocco to Syria. The JNF did not choose the tree to make Israel look like Europe, a lie repeated by Mondoweiss.  Native Aleppo pine forests exist in the Carmel and Galilee regions.

Moreover, pine trees were observed in Palestine by travelers in the 19th century. From The Popular Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature, 1856:

 The tall cypress only exists in Palestine, as cultivated by man in gardens, and in cemeteries, and other open places of towns. But as the spontaneous growth of the country, we find upon the heights and swelling hills, the walnut-tree, the strawberry-tree, the laurel-tree, &c.; while on the formerly wooded heights, various kinds of pine-trees, large and small, still maintain their ground.

As far as Mount Carmel is concerned specifically,  the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1907 says it is "covered with helm-oaks and pine trees."

Carved Pine cones, Palmyra, Syria.

Mazin Qumsiyeh writing on behalf of the  Palestine Museum of Natural History and the Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability continues the "pine libel" stating:

The choice of European pine trees was because a) they grow fast, b) they give a European look to the otherwise “Arab” landscape, c) their leaves on the ground make  acidic preventing growth or regrowth of endogenous trees.

In total KKL boasts that it planted 240 million pine trees. Resinous pine is like petrol and burns with a ferocity. 

Read about the local pines mentioned in the Bible here

Three pines are frequently encountered in the Middle East. One, Pinus pinea, the stone pine or umbrella pine (in allusion to its umbrella-like appearance when mature), was once grown on a large scale for its seeds which are an important ingredient in Middle East foods. Today, most of these seeds are imported from China and may be produced by trees other than the stone pine. All pines have edible seeds, most, however, are too small to harvest.

The two native pines are Aleppo pine, P. halepensis, and P. brutia which has no widely acceptable common name. Pinus brutia is widespread in Syria and Turkey. There are remnant forests of Aleppo pine in Israel and Jordan. Both pines are fire maintained in nature.

In Nehemiah 8:15 and Isaiah 41:19 the Aleppo pine brutia pine is probably meant. In each of these three references the beauty of the trees is emphasized. This is applicable as the pine is evergreen, fragrant, but also produces good wood for construction and furniture.

In Hosea 14:8 reference is made to a pine tree which apparently produces an edible fruit perhaps the stone pine. It is often difficult to say with certainty which pine is intended in the scriptures as the same word can be used for other evergreen trees such as the cypress and the fir.

Read more about the "pine libel" here:

No comments: