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Jewish Journal

Israel Role as Environmental Leader

Linda Katz

May 14, 2012 | 1:14 pm

Innovation is often born from necessity. Israel’s environmental partnership began long before climate change became an ‘issue’, allowing the country to grow and thrive. Israel learned to produce food (in the desert) and conserve water, two resources needed for life, yet overshadowed in perceived value by oil and gemstones. Promoting Israel as a leader and teacher is vital as discussed in the Science and Environment session during AJC’s Access conference.

The facts: Kibbutzniks, as early as 1910, turned arid (then) Palestine into a land of milk and honey to feed a growing populous. The irony being many of these early farmers coming from Eastern Europe were prohibited from owning land, prohibited from farming. Drip irrigation, ‘Israeli-style’, may feed expanding world populations on an increasingly dry planet. Israel is number one in water reclamation, recycling 75% of its sewage and wastewater. For perspective, Spain is second, reclaiming 25%. Draught is igniting wars in Africa.

It’s not much of a stretch to say (most) wars and genocides are waged over resources such as oil, water, land, diamonds, and, of course power. Countries such as Cypress, Brazil, Argentina and Uganda are already learning about water management from Israel. A lesson most nations will need to master for survival, and, peace. Our AJC session declared the need to spread the word on campuses and beyond about Israel’s ability to lead in water management. Two Canadian women created the brilliant slogan: Water ISaRAEL Issue. Our group, led by Ruth Renert of MEKOROT, Israel’s National Water Company called for a day of action on March 22nd, International Water Day.

We can spread the word by taking actions large and small. Necessity: Building relationships, nations must work together to save life through water. Innovation: These same nations putting aside hate and anti-Israel/Semitism to survive. The need is real. We must help share Israel’s strengths.

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Jews visiting Central & Eastern Europe frequently come with stereotypes and prejudices about the region.  In particular, group heritage and education tours for young Jews...

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