The recent winds and rains have raised the water in Israel’s largest natural reservoir to almost one meter above its level at this time last year. As the Jewish State enjoys an unusual surplus of Air and Water, there were many good news stories recently that include one or more of the four “elements”.
Beginning with the “Earth element”, by the end of March over 1300 Turks made homeless by the Turkish earthquake will be accommodated in 130 mobile and residential buildings provided by the Jewish State. Ahmet Kazankiya – vice governor of the Van province affected – said of Israel, "You are true allies”. Much further South, the Embassy of Israel in South Africa is running agriculture courses in Bloemfontein and Stellenbosch to help South African farmers learn how to get higher yields from the Earth.
Israelis are the world’s leading innovators of Water technology. This excellent video highlights some of Israel’s advanced water solutions for the global market. The projects include 500 water schemes in Rumania, preventing water leakage in Moscow, irrigating sugar cane plantations in South Africa, recycling wastewater at the Beijing Olympics, fish farm hydroponics in Turkey and desalination in Cyprus.
One of Israel’s success stories is about Aqwise, which began as a small start-up developing innovative technology for the biological treatment of wastewater. Now, 12 years later, the Company is profitable, has 150 installations around the world, and operates in over 20 countries including China, India, Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, the U.S.A. and Central and South America.
So the great news is that Israel will have surplus water within a decade. Even by the end of next year, 75% of Israeli households will be using desalinated water and the quality is already superb. Only 0.07% of samples were found to contain disease-causing bacteria and parasites - far less than the 6.5% level in 1991 and the 5.0% limit recommended by the World Health Organisation.
We now join up Water and Fire and ask the question as to who said never to mix electricity and water? Well Israel’s Solaris Synergy has developed a floating solar power plant. It will be especially useful for countries (like Israel) that do not have a large land mass. Installed on reservoirs and canals, the eco-friendly system reduces evaporation and build-up of algae.
Air and Fire combine next with the news that Israel successfully tested its Arrow defense system. Just in case the world does not prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, it is vital that the Jewish State has a few viable options. And in the offensive arena, Israel’s Delilah Cruise missile ensures minimal collateral damage. At the last moment as the missile approaches a target, if the navigator sees any civilians in the target zone, he or she pushes a button and Delilah aborts its attack. It then returns to the air and stays in the target zone until it gets new instructions.
We now “take to the Air” in a big way, starting with the Red South Festival in the Northern Negev and one of the finest hot-air balloon displays in Israel. We also heard about the arrival by Air of the oldest couple ever to make Aliya. Phillip (age 95) and Dorothy (93) Grossman of Baltimore, Maryland have been married for 71 years. Their great great grandchildren greeted them at Ben Gurion airport. Meanwhile, Israel’s Ceragon certainly makes good use of the Air to carry its wireless services. Ceregon has just won large orders for its “unbreakable” wireless backhaul products, from Russia’s fourth largest mobile carrier, Tele2, and its 20 million customers.
A rare pro-Israel BBC program was “aired” last week when BBC Radio 3 interviewed Israel-Arab Gadi Abu Saman and Israeli yeshiva student Orian Shukrun. The two pianists from the WIZO Maalot Tarshicha Music Conservatory form the unique musical team “Hands on Peace”. They believe that the harmony created through music can be a key to building bridges of peace in a diverse multicultural society such as Israel. And, at the other end of the music spectrum, Grammy award-winning Dutch DJ sensation Afrojack will be hitting the airwaves in March with a concert at the Bitan 1 club in Tel Aviv.
One news story combines all four elements. The Israeli company eVigilo, recently completed installing a warning system in Chile, which will Fire off text messages to alert Chileans of approaching tsunamis (Water) directly to their cellphones (Air). Frequent (Earth) quakes plague Chile, with the one in February 2010 triggering a devastating tsunami.
I end this blog by returning to Earth and the Land that we have been blessed with. Tourist Israel recommends visiting five of the most beautiful places in Israel - the Hula Valley, the Ramon Crater, Jerusalem the Gold, the Dead Sea and anywhere you can see the sun setting over the Mediterranean.
And finally, the Israel Defense Forces are clearing 1500 mines from the border with Jordan. The area will then be used for agriculture - most likely for date crops. Does this constitute turning swords into ploughshares?
It has all the elements!
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
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