know that a native Israeli is referred to as a
Sabra (tzabar in Hebrew). However, not everyone
knows what a Sabra really looks like (not the
human variety). A Sabra is actually a form of
cactus, Opuntia ficus-indica, in the past known as
a ‘prickly pear’ and now most often called a
The fruit of the Sabra is thorny on the outside
with a thick peel that must be removed, to get to
the sweet meaty inside.
In Israel, as well as a number of other
countries this fruit is actually a commercial
crop. Most of the fruit (in Israel) ripens within
a short two-week period, in the summer, typically
in mid-July to mid-August. But, due to arid desert
conditions in parts of Israel cactus pears can be
harvested ten months a year.