Drying the Hula Lake: A Firsthand Account

In this brief clip (1:14), Nahum Bendel, artist and former employee of one of Israel’s oldest construction companies, documents his firsthand experiences working in the Hula Valley swamps. In the 1950s, the KKL-JNF embarked on an ambitious mission to drain the Hula Lake and convert it to agricultural land. Workers faced tremendous risks, including exposure to disease and bombardments from Syria, which killed almost 40 and injured about 100 workers. When the drainage was completed in 1958, Israel had more than 15,000 acres of usable farmland—an impressive feat for the then-very-young State of Israel, and with great symbolic significance too. Today, the KKL-JNF continues to maintain the Hula Valley which has become a popular tourist destination and an internationally acclaimed bird-watching site.

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