BGU’s Prof. Pedro Berliner to Receive the French National Order of Agricultural Merit

Pr Pedro Berliner Pr Pedro Berliner

November 5, 2013 – The French Minister of Agriculture, Mr Stephane Le Foll has awarded the Ordre National du Mérite Agricole (National Order of Agricultural Merit) to two Israelis citizens, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Prof. Pedro Berliner and Mr. Eli Ben-Zaken. An official ceremony for the delivery of the decoration will be held in Israel in the presence of the new French Ambassador, HE Patrick Maisonnave and the Israeli minister of agriculture, Mr. Yair Shamir on November 27, 2013 at the French Embassy. Pedro Berliner will be the third Israeli to receive the award.

The National Order of Agricultural Merit is an order of merit established in France in 1883 to reward services to agriculture. Its ribbon is green with a red-orange stripe down each side – the stripes symbolize the prestigious institution of the “Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur”. The Order has the ranks of knight (including all living former ministers of agriculture), officer and commander.

Those who work in agriculture are numerous but often go unnoticed. Millions of people depend on this industry and contribute powerfully through their work in the development of public wealth. The work of the farmers, agronomists, teachers and scientists is constant and devoted, yet awards are quite rare. The delivery of this Order to Prof. Pedro Berliner and Mr. Eli Ben-Zaken is in recognition of their outstanding contribution to agriculture.

Berliner is the director of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research on BGU’s Sede-Boqer campus. He is a member of the French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands.His research in the field of agro-hydrology is to promote the production of food in theinterest of the people living in desert regions around the world. Among his projects is the grove at Wadi Mashash, where he is experimenting with irrigating olive trees solely through flood waters and inter-planting with other crops.

Eli Ben-Zaken isconsidered one of the best winemakers in Israel. His vineyard, Domaine du Castel, produces wines that are recognized in France as among the best in the world.

The ceremony will also be the occasion to open the French-Israeli Agriculture Year. Indeed, the Scientific Office and Economic Office of the Embassy and Ubifrance have decided to concentrate their efforts in 2014 on advancing Franco-Israeli bi-national cooperation in the agricultureand food sector.

Israël Science Info