Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ride in a GalMobile water desalination and purification jeep at Olga Beach last July.
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi next week, he will give him a gift that will remind the Indian leader of the cozy moment they shared together last summer on Olga Beach: the GalMobile water desalination and purification jeep.
It was this jeep that the two leaders rode in after walking barefoot into the Mediterranean Sea on the next to last day of Modi’s historic visit to Israel in July.
The two leaders went to the beach to see a demonstration of the mobile desalination unit. They drank desalinated water out of wine glasses before taking off their shoes and wading into the water.
Netanyahu has mentioned that whimsical moment numerous times since, including at the UN General Assembly in September.
“In July, Prime Minister Modi became the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel,” he said.
“You may have seen the pictures. We were on a beach in Hadera. We rode together in a jeep outfitted with a portable desalination device that some thriving Israeli entrepreneur invented. We took off our shoes, waded into the Mediterranean and drank seawater that had been purified only a few minutes earlier. We imagined the endless possibilities for Israel, India, for all humanity.”
Diplomatic officials confirmed that Netanyahu will give Modi his own desalination jeep, which reportedly carries a NIS 390,000 price tag.
The GalMobile can desalinate and purify up to 20,000 liters of sea water a day, or 80,000 liters of brackish or muddy or even contaminated river water per day. The purified water meets WHO standards for potable water.
After the demonstration, India’s financial Express wrote that the technology used in the jeep could be a “huge help” to India.
“India faces quite a bad water situation, as a large part of the population does not have access to proper drinking water,” the paper wrote. “Most of the Indian water bodies get polluted with organic and hazardous pollutants. Moreover, there are interstate disputes over river waters. With a steadily increasing population that will reach an estimated 1.7 billion by 2050, there is a dire need to find ways to provide clean drinking water. Groundwater is not considered a sustainable source, as it may end one day due to over extraction. This leads to a need to improve our wastewater treatment as well as desalination. This GalMobile-like technology can be a huge help to India, especially since the country has a large part of its borders, linked to seas and oceans.”
Significantly increasing the two countries’ bilateral trade, which currently stands at about $4 billion a year, will be one of the focuses of Netanyahu’s visit, with an emphasis on looking for greater areas of cooperation in the areas such as water management, agricultural production and hi-tech.
Netanyahu will be accompanied by a business delegation of more than 150 people, including the directors-general of major Israeli security firms, such as Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael Advanced defense Systems, and other lending companies, such as Israel Chemicals and Delek Drilling.