There is an old Jewish proverb that says, “In every drop of water, there is a story of life.” This sentiment was brought to life when a delegation of Israeli water experts made a much-anticipated visit to South Africa. Their mission: to help address the pressing water challenges of the region by sharing their insights, experience, and world-leading technology in water management.
South Africa has been grappling with significant water problems, from infrastructure failures to water shortages and even outbreaks of waterborne diseases. These problems have left the basic need for clean, accessible water in a precarious state. But, where others see a problem, Israel sees an opportunity to offer help and expertise.
After all, the State of Israel has faced its own share of water-related challenges and has successfully emerged as a global leader in water technology, generating 20% more water than it needs and recycling over 90% of its wastewater.
The Israeli water experts, including the director of Israel’s Water Authority, Yehezkel Lifshitz, and Yehonatan Bar-Yosef, a project manager of Water Quality Management & Ecology at KKL-JNF, seized this opportunity to share their knowledge at a seminar in Tshwane. The visit, coordinated by several South African and Israeli organizations, marks a promising step towards fostering sustainable solutions and a prosperous future for South Africa.
Michael Kransdorf, chairman of JNF-SA, noted that this interaction underlined the need for stronger ties between South Africa and Israel. To date, Israeli technology and innovation have already provided clean water access to over half a million South Africans.
The Israeli experts left no stone unturned in sharing their approach to water management. Lifshitz elaborated on Israel’s water governance model, focusing on the strong cooperation across government departments and among stakeholders as a key to success.
Although the relationship between Tshwane and Jerusalem has been tepid in recent years, the response to the Israeli delegation from opposition parties and municipal officials was enthusiastic, acknowledging the invaluable benefits that Israeli expertise could bring to their communities.
Bar-Yosef emphasized the immense potential for collaboration. “We received such a warm welcome and hospitality,” he said. “The princess of the Zulu nation would like to send delegations to Israel. It is important to share skills.”
Israel’s Ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotsercovsky, echoed this sentiment, stating, “Israel is a world leader in water management. Finding ways to cooperate with Israel will help South Africa create a better future for the communities that suffer the implications of water scarcity. There are tremendous opportunities here.”
By sharing its expertise, Israel isn’t merely providing technical assistance; it is sharing a testament of resilience, innovation, and perseverance – core values of the Israeli spirit. Through its example, Israel continues to affirm its commitment to helping nations worldwide.
So as we reflect on this moment of international cooperation, we also celebrate the State of Israel. A state that has not only turned its own arid land into a flourishing oasis but is also sharing its hard-earned knowledge to quench the thirst of the world. This, indeed, is the true spirit of Israel: a tiny nation with a big heart, continuously working towards making the world a better place.