Israeli national with agriculture projects in Rwanda released from Hamas captivity

By Esther Muhozi
On 27 November 2023 at 09:00

Dr. Shoshan Haran, the visionary behind the Non-Governmental Organization Fair Planet, dedicated to advancing agricultural initiatives in Rwanda, has been released after enduring days of abduction by Hamas.

The abduction took place in Gaza on October 10, 2023, amidst escalating tensions triggered by a Hamas-initiated attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, which led to a devastating open war with over 14,000 casualties.

As a temporary truce holds between Israel and Hamas, mediated by Qatar, Dr. Shoshan’s release stands as a testament to the intricate challenges faced during times of conflict.

Fair Planet, founded by Dr. Shoshan Haran in 2012, focuses on pioneering agricultural projects across Africa, particularly in Rwanda, with the overarching goal of addressing hunger and promoting commercial agriculture.

The organization’s commitment to innovative seed development and sustainable farming practices has garnered international recognition.

On October 10, 2023, Dr. Shoshan, along with family members, faced a harrowing abduction from their home in Beer, Israel, subsequently finding themselves in Gaza.

The release of Dr. Shoshan and 12 other Israeli hostages on November 24, 2023, followed a cease-fire agreement brokered by Qatar. Tragically, Shoshan’s husband, Avshalom Haran, and his brother-in-law lost their lives during the abduction, underscoring the profound impact on the entire family.

Dr. Shoshan’s release is met with a mixture of relief and acknowledgment of the ongoing challenges faced by her family. Israel’s Ambassador to Rwanda, Einat Weiss, expressed relief at Dr. Shoshan’s return, recognizing the difficult situation the family endured.

In her professional capacity, Dr. Shoshan Haran is a seasoned farmer specializing in innovative seed development. Her collaboration with Rwandan agricultural leaders earlier this year culminated in the establishment of the Rwanda-Israel Horticulture Center of Excellence on August 2, 2023.

Fair Planet’s commitment to the Seed Resilience Project, officially launched on November 15, 2023, in partnership with the International Seed Federation, underscores their dedication to providing Rwandan farmers with quality seeds and essential agricultural training.

The organization’s activities in Ethiopia and Tanzania, involving collaboration with international companies, aim to bring diverse seeds to Rwanda for research using modern technology. The seeds proven to be resilient to Rwanda’s climate will be distributed to farmers, fostering sustainable agricultural practices.

Amb. Weiss commended Dr. Haran’s tireless efforts, highlighting the transformative potential of seeds grown in greenhouses, which could yield five times the normal output.

Plans are underway to implement widespread testing and dissemination of these seeds based on the promising results, marking a significant step towards enhancing agricultural practices in Rwanda.

Dr Shoshan (right) with his husband Avshalom Haran killed by Hamas.