holy land II.I - the floating tree in jaffa
Someone asked me about the floating tree in my second post on Israel, so be prepared! This is my long-winded description...
the story as it came from my tour guide.
In the early days of Israel (before the Balfour declaration that granted legitimacy to a Jewish state in Palestine), Jews in the area didn't have many large sources of income.
The orange was the first major export of the Jewish Palestinians who would later form Israel. Specifically, the Jaffa orange. The orange industry boomed after Israel declared its independence and the orange became the first symbol of Israeli might.
The tour guide told us a story about Israel making a treaty with a powerful neighbor that involved Israel purchasing a large tract of land. She said that Israel didn't have the capital for the full price, so they paid for most of it with oranges. Unfortunately, I can't find any record of this story online. If you know when this happened or any details from this story, please send me a message:
the rest of the story
I highly recommend this interesting article by an archaeobotanist from Tel Aviv who studied the introduction of citrus to the Medeterranian:
In brief, citrus fruit probably originated in China and spread westward until it reached all the way to western Europe. After a lot of artificial selection, mutation, and grafting, sweet varieties eventually made it back eastward to Palestine (modern-day Israel). In Jaffa, one Arab farmer stumbled upon a mutation that produced a larger, sweeter, juicier, and almost seedless variety that was better than any orange ever seen or tasted on the face of the earth at that time. This is what eventually became the Jaffa orange. The citrus industry in Palestine exploded. This is one of many reasons why Britain took such an interest in the area and stuck their thumb in the pie.
Through the ebb and flow of history, before Israel was even a country, most citrus production was in Jewish hands. Due to the tight-knit character of the Jewish community in Palestine and the growing interest in Zionism at the time, this gave the Jewish people a boost on their way to creating an ethnic state.
so what about the floating tree?
Even today, "The orange is the icon probably most widely associated with Israel." Israeli artist Ran Morin knew this when he created his iconic art piece in Jaffa.
Morin is famous for "environmental sculpture and planning." Most of his art involves living trees. The following pictures are from his website:
He also has other suspended trees:
This is what Morin has to say about his work:
Is 'Deracinement' the big sickness of our times? Can uprooted existence, established so definitely through international economics, communication & technology produce a new, lighter genuine aesthetic? My 'growing sculptures' do not try to answer these questions. They rather show a 'rooted - uprooted' state while going on living, much as we do, growing into an unclear future.
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