JERUSALEM (Dec. 28)
Israeli agricultural experts expressed fears today that the unseasonal delay in winter rains this year may result in severe curtailment of Israeli crops in some areas, due to water shortages.
The Chief Rabbinate has proclaimed tomorrow and Thursday as special days of prayer and supplications, not only in regard to the drought but also in regard to the damage caused by this year’s swarms of locusts. Much of Israel’s countryside has been plagued by these two occurrences–the pests and the aridity–which have affected agriculture all the way from the Negev to the coastal plains.
The rainy season should have started more than a month ago. Thus far, however, there have been light rains only two or three days in most parts of the country, and there has been practically no rain at all in the Negev. As a result, some winter crops have already had to be plowed under. Now, with the rains still delayed, some summer crops are being threatened also. There is not enough water on hand for irrigation purposes.