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Will Congress Rise to the Occasion?

While Israel’s economy is facing the consequences of the global economic meltdown (e.g., unemployment is rising at 7%, gasoline price is surging):

1. According to the August 24, 2012 “Commentator” article by Peter Glover and Michael Economides,

as the tension between Israel and Iran ratchets up, an interesting sub-text has developed over the role of Iran’s traditional backer, Russia…. 20 million metric tons of liquid natural gas (LNG) exported each year from the eastern Mediterranean into Europe [a reference to the supposed potential of Israel’s and Cyprus’ offshore natural gas reserves] would amount to about one third of current Russian exports…. Putin’s Kremlin is clearly rattled by the threat of decline for that which underpins Russia’s entire economy: its energy hegemony…. Russia supplies a quarter of all Europe’s (rising) natural gas demand…. But there is now a new kid on the block that could pose a very clear and present threat to Russia’s vital European market: Israel, along with Cyprus, and their upcoming potential status as gas exporting energy superpowers…. During Putin’s recent visit to Israel, he and Netanyahu agreed to form a junior company to [Russia’s] Gazprom that would help develop Israel’s Leviathan gas field in the eastern Mediterranean…. Iran is suing Russia in the Court of Arbitration in Geneva for cancelling a contract to sell five divisions of the S-300 long-range anti-aircraft missile system…. the Kremlin appears to have higher economic and political priorities. Chief among them: ensuring its vast energy resources help it to remain a global superpower…

2. The Menlo Park-based Sequoia Capital, which is a leading global high tech venture capital fund, is dedicating $200MN for its 5th Israeli-dedicated fund. The 1st fund was established in 1998 ($30MN), followed by $150MN, $200MN and $200MN funds (Globes Business Daily, August 24, 2012). The Palo Alto-based Accel Partners, another leading global high tech venture capital fund and a frequent investor in Israeli high tech companies, invested $3MN in Israel’s Mobile Spaces (Globes, Aug. 27).

*3. Will Congress rise to the occasion, legislating the US-Israel Water Cooperation Act in the areas of water technologies, water industries, water conservation, water supply and consumption, water quality, irrigation, sewage recycling, desalination, water security, etc.?

The current drought afflicting the United States, which has spread to more than half of the continental United States, is the most widespread drought in more than half a century…. The US government has declared nearly 1,300 counties across 29 states a federal disaster area…. Head of the Desalination Department in Israel’s Water Authority claims Israel can help: “Educating people to use less water… The average consumption of water in the US per person is 3 or 4 times of Israel’s…. [More] efficient irrigation systems: 90-95% of agriculture in Israel uses drip irrigation as opposed to only 5% in America…. Proper maintenance of water pipes – there is a 20% average leakage rate on water pipes in the US, not quite as bad as London’s 40% average leakage, nonetheless twice the amount of Israel’s leakage…. Regarding sewage water – about 80% is reused in Israel for irrigation, as opposed to America’s 1%…” (Arutz 7, Gideon Israel, July 25).

From Yoram Ettinger’s newsletter, Straight from the Jerusalem Boardroom, which can be found at the Ettinger Report

About the Author: Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger is consultant to Israel’s Cabinet members and Israeli legislators, and lecturer in the U.S., Canada and Israel on Israel’s unique contributions to American interests, the foundations of U.S.-Israel relations, the Iranian threat, and Jewish-Arab issues.


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