Pope's tree flourishes while others wither

.- In the Jubilee Year of 2000, Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land stopping at one point to bless an olive tree on the Mount of the Beatitudes. A forester with the Jewish National Fund reports that this tree is the only one producing olives this year.

"It is a miracle," Yossi Karni from the JNF, which maintains the plot, told local media.

During a visit to northern Israel, in March of 2000, the late Pontiff blessed an olive tree that was planted on the Mount of Beatitudes, which was previously called Mt. Eremos. According to tradition, Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount on this mountain, which is located near the Sea of Galilee.

Israel is currently facing what Uri Shani, Israel’s Water Authority director, called “the worst crisis in 80 years.” “Israel's major sources of drinking water, including the Sea of Galilee and the mountain aquifer, are below their ‘red lines,’ meaning they are not recommended to draw water,” he said at a news conference last month.

Karni explained that all the trees on the plot were treated equally, but the ones that did not receive the blessing have not given fruit this year.

"They get treated the same, watered the same," he said, adding that some trees had even started to wither, which he could not explain.

When he was asked what he would do with the olives, Karni told Israel's Channel 10 he might market their "holy oil."


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