The Wheat Grows Again

On Saturday, October 7, Hamas terrorists attacked Israel in a genocidal rampage that included murder, torture, rape and other atrocities. At least 200 people were taken hostage to Gaza, most of them innocent civilians, including children, babies and the elderly.

As one of the world's leading scientific institutions, the Weizmann Institute is committed not only to research, education and working for the future of humanity. We see it as our responsibility to use our international standing to advocate for the safe return of all the hostages. We are committed to helping #BringThemHomeNow.  

#TheWheatGrowsAgain is a 24/7 LiveStream that aims to raise awareness to the hostage crisis by documenting growing wheat plants in one of the Institute’s brand new greenhouses. This Live Stream also displays a list of the hostages' names and ages, as well as a clock counting the time that has passed since their kidnapping. With each passing day, resolving the hostage situation becomes increasingly critical. Every moment counts, and we must not lose the sense of time. 

Growing Wheat: The Symbolism

Written after the Yom Kippur War by Kibbutz Beit Hashita member Dorit Tzameret, “The Wheat Grows Again” is one of Israel’s iconic memorial songs, symbolizing hope and resilience. While most of the lyrics ponder nature’s indifference to human adversity, the last verse affirms that even in the wake of tragedy and loss, somehow “the wheat grows again".

Growing Wheat: The Science

Professor Avraham A. Levy, a leading expert on wheat evolution and genetics at the Plant and Environmental Sciences Department of the Weizmann Institute of Science, has focused on the genetic diversity of wild wheat for over 40 years. In particular, his research explores wild emmer wheat, known in Hebrew as Em Ha’hita, “the mother of all wheats.” His ultimate goal is to develop technologies that would enable a precise transfer of genes from wild species to modern wheat varieties, for traits such as reduced reliance on fertilizers and resistance to heat, drought, and disease. These traits can help wheat adapt to adverse environmental changes affecting our planet, to ensure a secure supply of this vital food staple.

This year, as they did over the past decade, Levy and his team planned field experiments at the Gilat experimental station near Ofakim – in the wheat-growing region known as Israel’s granary. This area was turned into a war zone during the October 7 attacks; it was subjected to the mass atrocities committed by Hamas and shelled by hundreds of rockets from Gaza. Nevertheless, Levy, together with Dr. David Bonfil from the Gilat station, decided to proceed with the wheat sowing experiments as a symbol of renewal, emphasizing resilience in the face of adversity. “This is our way of showing that we never give up,” Levy explains.

The type of wheat grown in this LiveStream is one of the bread wheat varieties sown this year in the field experiments at Gilat. 

Due to wheat's day-night cycle, you may experience some light flickering during the live streaming between 3-6pm IST and considerable darkness at night.