Modern Israel’s agricultural ingenuity has impressed the world since it first began to “make the desert bloom” in the 1950s, but as it turns out, Israel has been a global center for farming innovation for much, much longer. In 2015, researchers from Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ben Gurion, and Harvard universities found the oldest evidence for crop cultivation at Ohalo II, an archaeological site on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee, from 23,000 years ago. This indicates that farming developed in Israel a full 12,000 years before archaeologists had previously estimated that agriculture began.

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