Monday, December 24, 2012

Frankincense returns to Israel

After 1,500 years, frankincense returns to the Holy Land in time for Christmas
December 23, 2012, 3:49 pm 1

Matthew Kalman (Times of Israel blog)

KIBBUTZ KETURA, ISRAEL – Seven years after I revealed her success in sprouting a 2,000 year-old date palm seed found on Masada, botanist Dr Elaine Solowey of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies has done it again.

1,500 years after the last frankincense tree disappeared from the Holy Land, Dr Solowey has managed to grow the first shoots of a tree whose scented white sap was once worth more than gold.

At Kibbutz Ketura deep in Israel’s Negev Desert, Dr Solowey is carefully nurturing the fragile sapling in her greenhouse, where she is also growing myrrh and balm of Gilead – probably the “gold” brought by the Three Wise Men to the infant Jesus in Bethlehem.

Cool about the frankincense, but if it's all the same to you, I'm going to keep the gold in my mental picture of the story.

More on the magi here and links.