War plunged Israel’s agricultural heartlands into crisis, raising fears for its farming future

The soldiers guarding Avi Chivivian’s organic vegetable farm in southern Israel must first scour every corner of his fields for militants before they give him the all clear: He has six hours to work. It’s potato planting season for the farms of southern Israel, a region near the Gaza border that the Agriculture Ministry calls the country’s “vegetable barn’ because it supplies at least a third of Israel’s vegetables.

His bank account is in overdraft, and most of the foreign workers he employed from Thailand and Rwanda have fled. “My house is empty, the whole kibbutz is empty. It looks like a tornado tore through the place,’ Chivivian said. “The government hasn’t given us anything. We’re alone, trying with all our might to save the food system.

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