(photo credit: kkl)
Professor Avital Gasith
At the festive opening of the second symposium of water experts from Manitoba and Israel in Jerusalem, H.E. Christine Melnick,
Minister of Water Stewardship, Province of Manitoba, Canada, made the
request that professional and personal ties between Manitoba and its
scientists and Israel, specifically KKL-JNF, be developed and
expanded. Ms. Melnick expressed the view that the values shared by the
Province of Manitoba and KKL-JNF are the basis for the partnership that
has been created together with Mel Lazareck, President of JNF
Manitoba, over the past few years in the field of research on
protection and improvement of water sources. "Most of you are here for
the first time and during your visit you will be learning about the
uniqueness of Israel and its citizens and the exceptional qualities of
this amazing country. Every time I fly to and from Israel - and this is
my fourth visit here - I start thinking about when and how I'll come
back," Ms. Melnick said about her devotion and relationship to Israel.
the Faculty of Life Sciences at Tel Aviv University, who is serving as
the symposium's chair, opened the conference with a general comparative
presentation of water issues in Manitoba and Israel, noting the fact
that Lake Winnipeg itself is larger than the total area of the entire
state of Israel. In spite of this, Professor Gazit said, there are many
joint research subjects shared by Manitoba and Israel, as they share
identical issues and problems regarding water quality, environment and
protection of water sources.
In his greeting to symposium participants, KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler
explained the reasons for KKL-JNF's commitment of the past few years to
massive investment in the development and protection of water sources,
river restoration, and the battles against soil salination on the one
hand and desertification on the other. "Over the years, KKL-JNF has
amassed a tremendous amount of experience in building water reservoirs.
This year, we finished building our 212th reservoir. Most of the
reservoirs store purified effluents, while some of them harvest
floodwaters. The reservoirs we have built store over 300 million cubic
meters of water and many of them fill up twice a year. This year, we
provided Israeli agriculture with more than half of the total amount of
water it needs."
Stenzler related to the huge difference between water
availability in Israel and Manitoba, which has over a hundred thousand
lakes. "If we were to take one centimeter of water from Lake Winnipeg,
it would be a more water than there is in the entire Lake Kinneret,"
Stenzler noted, praising the contribution of the Minister of Water, Ms.
Melnick, to the close scientific ties that have been created as a
result of her personal initiative.
"KKL-JNF could find no better friend of the Jewish
people and the state of Israel than Chris Melnick. From this podium, I
call on the representatives of all the institutions in the world to
create a professional forum for cooperation on water-related issues.
KKL-JNF will be happy to share all its accumulated experience with such
a forum, since we are an apolitical organization that can contribute
without unrelated considerations."
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