An Israeli agro-hydrology researcher and a winemaker are the winners of the National Order of Agricultural Merit, awarded by the French Ministry of Agriculture. Prof. Pedro Berliner, director of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research on BGU’s Sede-Boqer campus, and Eli Ben-Zaken, maker of Domaine du Castel wines, will be awarded at an official ceremony on November 27 at the French Embassy.

Berliner is being honored for his research in the field of agro-hydrology to promote the production of food in the interest 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.

Ben-Zaken is considered one of the best winemakers in Israel and his vineyard, Domaine du Castel, produces wines that are recognized in France as among the best in the world.

The ceremony at the French Embassy will also open the French-Israeli Agriculture Year.