The olive is one of the Biblical Seven Species, which bless Eretz
Israel: “a land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs and pomegranates,
and land of olive trees and honey” (Deuteronomy,
The usage of the olive tree goes back seven thousand years to the
Neolithic period. Remains of hundreds of ancient olive presses,
the majority of which date back to the Iron Age (9th -8th
centuries B.C.E) and until modern times, were found in Israel.
The olive tree became a characteristic of the Eretz Israel landscape
- an important symbol of deep-rootedness and the epitome of
hope. The olive leaf is mentioned in the Bible: “ In its (the
dove) bill was a plucked-off olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the
waters had decreased on the earth” (Genesis
8.11). The olive branch has become a symbol of peace to all
nations and today it is part of the State of Israel's emblem.
Today, most of the olive plantations are found in Samaria, the Galilee and the Negev Desert.