Extreme weather front that brought massive rainfall to Israel causes flooding of agricultural land; prompts possibility of ‘natural disaster’ status for industry

Avital Lahav
Published: 01.09.13

The heavy rainfall in Israel over the past several days may have been kind to Lake Kinneret, but Israel’s farmers have not fared so well, as the extreme weather front has caused floods that have destroyed numerous crops.

According to Israel Farmer Association Director General Avshalom Vilan, “While we welcome the rain, the floods have caused untold damage to crops. If this continues over the next few days, we may have no choice but to ask for a ‘natural disaster’ status for the industry.”

According to Vilan, the government is wary of enacting the status, which spells massive monetary compensation to farmers. “It’s too soon to estimate how much damage was done,” he said. “We have to wait for this system to pass, but we already know there are millions in damages.”

Israel’s Natural Disaster Compensation Act, which was introduced in 1989, mandated the agriculture minister – today Orit Noked – to ask the government to appropriate special funds to compensate farmers whose crops have been destroyed by extreme weather.

Between 2006 and 2010 eight such cases occurred, all due to flooding.