The most popular aspect of the holiday is planting trees, and all over Israel, school children, youth movements, new immigrants, and others plant young trees. This year, the planting has added value. A little more than a month ago, on December 2, 2010, the worst fire in Israel's history broke out in the Carmel Mountains near Haifa, destroying five million trees and 12,500 acres of planted forest, natural woodland, and open space. The fire also killed 44 people, damaged or destroyed 250 homes, and caused the evacuation of 17,000 people. Only after four days of continous work, did Israeli firefighters--with the assistance of the US and Canada and 16 other countries, which sent helicopters and airplanes--finally succeeded in dousing the flames.
RESTORATION HAS BEGUN
Cutting and clearing away burned trees; thinning conifers and planting deciduous trees to ensure proper forest development and prevention of fires; creating and improving firebreaks around residential areas, recreation areas, and bypass routes; clearing away trees that are dead and standing, which would be fuel for future fires; rehabilitation and improvement of scenic trails, bicycle paths and scenic lookouts; rehabilitation and renewal of recreation areas that burned and construction of new ones for the benefit of the visiting public; revamping fire trucks and purchasing new ones suitable for the area. All the work relies on the help of thousands of volunteers from Israel and all over the world. With their help, we hope that the beauty of the northern part of Israel will once more be renewed.
Stuffed Moroccan Dates
by: Ginette Spier
1/2 lb good quality dates
1/2 lb walnut halves
1/2 lb medium prunes
1 1/2 lbs almonds, blanched
12 ounces sugar
Grated rind of lemon OR 2 tbsp. orange blossom water
2 to 3 egg yolks
Grind almonds in food processor with sugar and lemon until it forms a paste. Add yolks as necessary. Divide into thirds. Color one part red, one part green, and one part yellow. Work color in well with hands. Set aside.
Slit tops of dates and prunes. Shape about a teaspoon of filling into a football shape to fill each date and prune. Make sandwiches of walnut halves with the filling in between. Traditionally yellow is used for prunes, red for nuts, and green is used for dates.
Dip tops in sugar. Decorate with fork tines. Put in petit-fours papers.