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The Medjool date: The variety that took over a billion shekel industry

The Medjool date is said to be the biggest, sweetest, most visually appealing variety of the fruit. Its rising popularity means more and more Israeli growers are uprooting more traditional, subtler types of palms to make room for the new king of the industry

As the Medjool is the biggest, sweetest and most visually appealing variety of date, this might explain how the Medjool managed to side-line all other date varieties and now accounts for 85% of the date production in Israel, the world's biggest dates exporter. Israel exports some 42 tonnes of Medjool dates a year, far above the U.S. and Jordan, which export 15,000 tonnes and 10,000 tonnes annually, respectively.

Overall, Medjool sales bring in around NIS 1 billion (approximately $284 million) in annual revenues to the Israeli economy. Half of that comes from export: in Israel's agricultural sector, the Medjool's export proceeds are second only to citrus fruit export, which brings in about NIS 600 million (approximately $170 million) a year.

From Israel's north, through occupied territories in the West Bank, to the country's southernmost town of Eilat, Israeli farmers tend to nearly 850,000 palm trees, acting as a bridge between the old world and a new market led by an insatiable hunger for "healthy," vegan food.

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