The renown Rabbi Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman Kremer, also known as the Vilna Gaon, taught about the importance of returning to Eretz Israel and working the land already in the 18th century.
His words, as recorded in the book "Kol Ha Tor" (The Voice of the Turtledove) have been very important to us in the planning of this project.
It is known that there will be two messiahs, one named Moshiach ben Joseph and one named Moshiach ben David. They are described here:
According to the Gaon, all the work involved in gathering in the exiles, building Jerusalem and broadening the settlement of the land of Israel so that the Shechinawill return to it, all the principles of the work and all the major and minor details are connected to the mission and role of the first mashiach, Mashiach ben Yosef. Mashiach ben Yosef is the miraculous power who will assist every act done when the awakening starts from below, in a natural manner, because he comes from the earth. Mashiach ben David, however, will come from Heaven ... It is therefore incumbent upon us to learn and to understand all the 156 characteristics, appellations, and all aspects and special attributes of Mashiach ben Yosef . These will be a light for our feet and direct us what to do and how, in connection with what lies ahead, with the help of the Redeemer of Israel, may it be speedily in our day.
The Vilna Gaon stressed that each person must study and realize the attributes of Moshiach ben Joseph as much as possible, for by doing so each person will actually bring the physical Moshiach ben Joseph, a process that will ultimately bring Moshiach ben David and Redemption.
Moshiach ben Joseph has seven main tasks and it is our duty to occupy ourself with the realization of these tasks or supporting the work of others who do these tasks. In this way we realize Moshiach ben Joseph within ourselves.
One of the seven main tasks is to green Eretz Israel and cause the Land to bear fruit while observing all of the agricultural laws that pertain to the Land.
There is a spirit of impurity that rests on the land until it is redeemed in this way. Every small portion of Eretz Israel that is planted in this way draws down the Shechina, the female aspect of the Divine Presence, to return to and rest upon the Land.
This is a task of ultimate importance and should be supported by all of Am Israel and those who are connected to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.