The Bible is a source of wisdom. The headline of this story is inspiration from Isaiah chapter 12 verse 3: “Rejoice in drawing water from the springs of redemption.”
The explanation to this verse could take the following shape:
Imagine water flowing from a spring, a water source, and when you look at the nature of the source, you immediately understand the value of the hidden, unappreciated forces that are deep in the depths of the earth.
Also, like the one who draws water from the spring, its water will not cease because it is a constant source, thus the blessing and salvation will not cease and they will be a reason to rejoice for all humanity’s days.
Wisdom is compared to water and teachers are like the wisdom spring while students are the ones who draw wisdom from them.
Since the Bible is the Jewish people’s sacred book it may have something to do with Israel’s water ingenuity.
Zionism, born out of the heartbreak of the Jewish people, is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. Like all people on earth, the Jewish people’s focus was to be responsible for their destiny and not depend on anyone for anything; not to live tentatively and tenuously, hoping against hope that the warm welcome of the country where they resided does not change, as it did so often in the past. There was never a guarantee it would not happen again.
Zionism did not end when the modern state of Israel was created, it actually just began.
In the Father of Zionism, Theodor (Benyamin-Ze’ev) Herzl’s 1902 book, “Altneuland,” the ‘old-new land’, he points out to a critical mass of Jews living in the ancient land of Israel reinventing everything. Jews no longer escape a hostile world, rather, they inspire and are in service of the world. Kind of what they call “Tikun Olam” – remedying the world.
Zionism gave many Jews the sense of belonging to an ancient story that is bigger than their own life. That sense of belonging gave the Jewish people meaning, a meaning they transferred into high-stakes creativity. And if you have high stakes in something such as a venture or decision, you also have a major interest in its [successful] outcome.
Israel’s south torrid Negev desert makes up 60% of the entire country
Negev is a name derived from the Hebrew verbal root n-g-b, meaning “to dry” or “to wipe dry.” Israel’s Negev region measures 60% of the land mass within the country, prior to the 1967 Six Day War. However, only 8.1% of the country’s population resides there.
David Ben Gurion, among the founders of modern Israel, lived in the Negev. He saw the region as Israel’s survival litmus test. Could Israel, as a provider, inventor, and imaginer of new technologies, make the Negev, seemingly uninhabitable, habitable?
Israel passed Ben Gurion’s test. Starting with the drip irrigation invention, which now saves between 30%-70% of irrigation water and doubles the crop yield, Israeli farmers made the desert bloom. These farmers offer the world’s agriculture and gardening industry water proficient potential.
Despite the Negev’s incredibly harsh conditions for farming, Israeli farmers successfully grow vineyards for winemaking.
Since its birth, in 1948, Israel has given the world much food for thought.
Focusing on creating a safe haven for its people, where they can survive and flourish, never means that Israelis do not care about the world’s outward concentric circles. The Jews came to Israel from the point of desperate desire to build a future. Now they have achieved this they can extend it to the rest of the world.
Zionism motivated dispersed Jews from all over the world to arrive and live in their ancient land, Israel. They prayed to get there, they were called Zionists but upon arrival all was new to them. They were told that now that they made it back to their homeland they have the opportunity to challenge a large spectrum of conventional wisdom. So, they began to think “out of the box”; how to resolve water scarcity and to seek methods to use water more efficiently.
The land of Israel is a dry landscape and the more Jews arrive to live there, innovations in water consumption were and are a priority for survival. Water became the focal point since the beginning of the modern state of Israel.
With the expectation of 20-25 million people living in that parched land, water sources are limited. Israel figured out that with more scientific knowledge there will be more water in the world so the country became the source of knowledge for most of the world’s water problems.
David Ben Gurion, among the founders of modern Israel, was a political and also scientific visionary. He famously said that “to be a realist in Israel you have to believe in miracles.”
And miracles did happen.
Ben Gurion knew that water innovations will make the people in his country better off.
Already in the early 1950s Ben Gurion instructed to build a pipeline – Israel’s national water carrier (Ha’movil Ha’artzi), the main water source for the entire country – to bring water from the Lake of Galilee-Kinneret in the north, the country’s largest water reservoir, to center Israel and the Desert Negev so even the desert blooms.
Israel invented technologies that create water out of nothing, out of thin air; desalination processes to create usable water from the Mediterranean Sea and treating sewage water to be used in agriculture, etc.
Manufacturing New Water
Still, with all the saving methods, the amount of water is notsufficient. The time has come to manufacture good water. Israel is using their own technologies to desalinate salty aquifer water and Mediterranean Sea water. This makes such water drinkable and the purification processes affordable.
Reclaimed Water, Known As Sewer
The world’s water supply never diminishes. The world’s increasing population and modernity increases water consumption and reduces water supply. Innovation is required to be able to efficiently use each and every drop of water available to humanity.
Having to survive in a hostile environment puts Israel in the position of worrying about water and thus become a water technology vanguard.
Today Israel ranks 2nd lowest in water lost to various leaks in the world, approximately 9% in total, with the goal to bring it down to 5% in the next few years.
Israel’s water management approach is that if the country can save a percent or two of water, from pipes leaks for instance, it means one less desalination plant to build.
Israel also leads the world in water consumption efficiency.
For Israel wastewater as an asset. Since the world population, now standing at eight billion, is increasing and water scarcity is becoming a major problem, some say the next World War could be caused by water shortages. Israelis now top the list of those working to solve the world’s water shortage and thus avoiding any conflict over water in their region and beyond.
Israel reclaims, recycles and puts into productive usage 85% of its waste water. The country to follow Israel’s water recycling ventures is Spain with 18% water waste recycling. The gap is enormous.
One can say that the world is asleep at the wheel until a catastrophe occurs.
Israel is also working to turn all waste, solid and liquid, into a resource of water, energy and flora nutrients. Of course with sewage water not going to waste the environmentalists simply gloat.
This water drive could not have occurred and this story could not exist without a coordinated approach.
- revolutionized technological innovations
- water culture and water education from a young age
- public awareness
- government leaders focusing on and dealing with water on a national level
- the desire to use market forces, water equation depoliticization and turning it into a technocratic activity by skilled professionals
At present Israel is striving to make its reclaimed wastewater drinkable. The country will have fresh water, desalinated sea water, reclaimed-wastewater at its disposal to never be short of water.
Because of all of the approaches mentioned herein, Israel, a country located in a rather inimical environment is water secured. Water security leads to food security.
Israel Technology Center
Necessity is the mother of invention; the primary driving force for most new inventions is a need. Subsequently, Israel is not only Biblical, religions, and a tourism attraction but also a leader in creativity and innovations. The country is a venture capital and technology magnate, legging just behind only the United States, which indicates that the focal point of Israeli scientists is creativity.
Avoiding Flow of Life Disruptions
Out of the 8 billion people that inhabit Planet Earth only about 1 billion of them have safe, secure and on-demand water.
For years the ruling class in countries and US states, for example California, kicked the can of their water shortage problem down the road. Their excuse was that there were more pressing issues to address.
Countries are interrelated and a crisis in one place will often spill over to a neighbor.
Not taking care of the water problems, just as Israel has done, will bring an unprepared world to economic and security disruptions and untold numbers of refugee flows.
Challenges must be addressed at their root cause and water wars are certainly avoidable. When witnessing Israel’s water technological achievements, it is obvious that with understanding broader self-interests and investments a country can solve its water problem and help neighbors to do the same. A country with aptitude has the responsibility to make its entire neighborhood water secured.
California Refuses to Fix its Ongoing Drought Problem
During March 2014 Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then California Governor Jerry Brown signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for joint research and development, focusing on collaboration between academic and research institutes on both sides, in the fields of water technologies, energy, storage technologies and cyber security.
It was clearly understood that California would follow Israel’s water policy to become drought free. Unfortunately, the MoU rots on some shelf while from year to year California declares drought emergency. Politicians issue water savings decrees instead of curing the water illness for once and for all just as Israel has done.
Reclaiming Water Can Lead to Peace
Hate wastes lives.
It is fair to say that taking into account all the elements of where the state of Israel is located, there was a slim chance for this state to survive or endure.
As it turned out, Israel that declared independence three years after the Holocaust is not just a country, it has been a miracle in the making; the miracle Ben Gurion predicted. It is where the future of the Jewish people is guaranteed.
To avoid conflict, one must understand Jews’ perpetual vulnerability, the refugee flow phenomenon, and environmental harm, in particular water scarcity. Solving the Middle East water problems could bring about lasting peace.
Israel shows the world that water usage can be a cooperation and coexistence tool that can lead to peace. From knowledge to water and then to diplomacy. Israel will not only end its water shortage, it will also end poverty and increase diplomatic ties in the Middle East and beyond. The Abraham Accords agreement is the current witness to this.
Water cooperation and coordination in the region is improving and water must be kept beyond a conflict. By addressing the water issue and managing it properly, conflict is avoidable.
Israel and Jordan
Israel and its neighbor Jordan share water resources. Though not exactly kindred spirits, the plan was to develop a water-energy exchange between the two countries, built on healthy interdependencies. On November 22, 2021 Israel and Jordan signed a declaration of intent for a water-for-energy deal. Through a solar power plant, Jordan will export 600 megawatts of solar generating green energy capacity to Israel, contingent upon Israel providing water-scarce Jordan with 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water.
Water can be a catalyst for cooperation rather than conflict. When people see the project well managed and increasingly developed for their own benefit, when they appreciate and value it, they will keep it running for the interest of all sides.
It is morally incorrect to have a thirsty neighbor. Cooperation on water is humanly necessary. Water must be kept out of any animosity and conflict. Israel also does its part by supplying Gaza with water daily, even when the rockets and missiles are indiscriminately fired from Gaza into Israel.
Israelis are perhaps among the world’s greatest scientists who have a vision to create a better future for their country and the world. No wonder Israel is called “The startup nation.”
The question that must be asked at the end, will all the innovations coming out of Israel bring the peace it desires? Will it reduce worldwide Antisemitism, and will it make the world a better place to live as Israel thrives to make it?