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December 5, 2016 / 5 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘water’

Israel Weighing Moving Desalinated Water to Drought-Plagued Kinneret

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Israel’s Water Authority is looking into establishing a system to move desalinated water from central Israel to lake Kinneret, in the opposite direction of the historic National Water Carrier of Israel, which has been delivering Kinneret water to the Negev since 1964. Over the past three years, due to partial droughts and natural evaporation, the Kinneret’s rate of replenishment has been reduced substantially.

An additional burden on the receding lake is the uninterrupted consumption by Jordan. In accordance with the 1994 peace treaty with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the latter will be drawing 11.2 billion gallons of water from the Kinneret – while Israel in 2016 will be drawing only about 6.6 billion gallons.

So the Kinneret continues to recede and the Water Authority realizes something’s gotta’ give. The plan, according to a report in Ha’aretz Wednesday, is to push 27 billion gallons annually into the lake from desalination plants in central Israel, raising the Kinneret water level by about 28 inches each year.

Incidentally, the total annual capacity of central Israel’s desalination plants is 150 billion gallons, making Israel the runaway king of water reclamation on planet Earth. By 2015, Israel’s desalination programs provided roughly 40% of Israel’s drinking water and it is expected to supply 70% by 2050.

The plan was presented at Tuesday’s inaugural meeting of the Water Public Forum at Tel Aviv University, which included past and present Water Authority senior officials, scientists, engineers, managers of northern water societies, and representatives of environmental groups.

Meanwhile, according to Ha’aretz, Israeli farmers upriver from the Kinneret, who had been refused an increase of 11 billion gallons annually, have begun to draw water from the Jordan River at night – endangering the environment which is already on a brink of an ecological crisis – this while Jordan continues to siphon exactly this amount for its own agriculture.


PA Civil Defense Rescues Settler after 6 Days in Waterhole

Saturday, November 26th, 2016

An Israeli resident of Avnei Hefetz, on the western edge of northern Samaria, was rescued on Saturday by PA Civil Defense forces after being stuck in an empty waterhole for six days, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported.

The man climbed down into the hole last Sunday, apparently to meditate alone (“hitbodidut” in Hebrew), when his rope was torn he became stuck. He was discovered only a full six days later, on Saturday, by the PA Arabs who released him immediately and alerted the IDF Civil Administration.

“Would you like something to drink?” the rescuers asked the man, gave him water and retrieved and handed him his wallet, cash intact, which he had left in the hole.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) transported the man to the Israeli side of the 1993 Oslo-agreement borderline, where he received EMT treatment.

So far it isn’t clear why no one in Avnei Hefetz was aware of the man’s absence for almost a week, though if the man disappeared regularly that could explain it.


Reflections On Water

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

I well remember the day that I became part of that less than exclusive club. My membership was all the more surprising in light of my latent New Yorker genes. Even after leaving over three decades ago and relocating to no less than three different countries and many states and provinces, I could not eradicate them completely. My kids always complained, only half jokingly, about my paranoid obsession with locking and bolting the front door. Even when they were expected to return home at any moment. Even when they were just behind me on the steps!

I was far from the trusting, naïve type you would expect to fall prey to this scheme. So how had this conceivably happened to me, of all people?

Something tells me that a little background information is required before we can even begin to piece together this mystery.

But first a disclaimer: This is decidedly not one of those heart-warming “Only in Israel” strolls down memory lane. It is actually as far from it as can possibly be. In fact, I thought long and hard about sharing this story for that very reason. (Aside from the fact that Yours Truly does not exactly come out smelling like a rose either!) In the end, I decided that literary integrity must prevail over all other considerations. So here is the decidedly unflattering (but undisputedly captivating) tale of the waterman… and me.

We waited quite a while to move into our brand new home. In total there were the four years we spent in chutz laaretz after purchasing it on paper and the year we spent living in a loaner apartment while we awaited its completion. I guess that can at least partially explain why I felt particularly attached to our “piece of the rock.”

It happened shortly after we eventually moved in; the ubiquitous workers had finally finished their various tasks and we were at long last beginning to settle in and feel at home. That was precisely the juncture at which the waterman made his unannounced and unexpected appearance.

He was tall and had a broad build, with curly hair and arresting blue eyes. (The “arresting” should have furnished a clue, but I was sadly somewhat slow on the uptake!) Like most workers and officials in this country, he was dressed casually, with no uniform or badge of any kind. Instead he wore a black tee shirt and khaki cargo pants with very deep pockets. (Clue number two, had I been paying attention.)

“I’m from the water department,” he announced, when I opened the door. “There’s a break in a water main outside and I’m concerned about your pipes…”

“We just moved in…” I shared. And then added, “I’m in the middle of washing a load of whites. Do you think that will be affected?”

He shook his head sympathetically, “I’m afraid so. I’ll return in a few minutes and we’ll check the pipes together.”

My husband had just left to run an important errand in Yerushalayim, and I immediately tried reaching him on his cell phone, with no success.

Before I could make another attempt, the waterman was back again, ready to get down to business. The New Yorker in me was somewhat suspicious, but at the same time, I was grateful that the laborers had left, taking their constant mess with them, and I had subsequently cleaned the house until it sparkled. My biggest concern was that this unfortunate unforeseen development would destroy my laundry and my new pipes.

Seeing him as the lesser of the two evils, I let him into my house and led him to the kitchen and each bathroom in turn, so that we could inspect whether rust was coming out of any of the faucets throughout the apartment. It seemed somewhat contrived to me, but when we reached my bedroom and bathroom on the attic level, I was certain that he was up to no good.

“You go back down to the kitchen and turn the water on and off,” he instructed me.

I hurried downstairs and dialed my husband again. Baruch Hashem this time he answered right away.

“I think we’re being robbed!” I breathed, filling him in briefly. “What do I do now?”

He had me summon the water man/robber to the phone.

“My husband is on the phone and he wants to speak to you!” I shouted.

The ganif rushed down the stairs and took the proffered receiver from my hand.

“No problem,” he assured my husband. “I can come back later today. Or my partner Roni can come.”

With that, he handed back the phone, bid me good-bye and took his leave.

I raced up two flights of stairs and into my bedroom. Sure enough, the three or four hundred dollar bills in maaser money that our married daughter had left us, earmarked for a specific tzedaka, were gone!

Next I zoomed down the stairs and out my front door. The “water man” was just outside my building, totally oblivious to the brewing storm.

“That man just stole all my tzedaka money!” I thundered, pointing an accusing finger at the perpetrator, like a modern day Esther Hamalka. The men outside, most of them Arab workers still dealing with odds-and-ends jobs on our street, showed little interest in my tirade.

But, the “water man” apparently heard my accusation loud and clear. He immediately began running down my street, darting into and out of private entrances up and down the block, like a mouse trapped in an unfamiliar maze. He ultimately reached the end of the block… and freedom.

A neighbor loaned me a cell phone, and I quickly dialed the police department, furnishing whatever descriptive information I could.

While we were still standing outside awaiting the police, the frum young man from the gas department who had recently hooked-up our house for gas service, pulled up in his small truck.

“What’s going on?” he inquired anxiously. “And who is that suspicious-looking character I just saw tearing down the main road, clutching his over-sized pockets?”

The police arrived moments later, took a report, checked the scene of the crime, and left to scour the streets in our neighborhood. Like the bumbling Inspector Clouseau of Pink Panther fame, they returned some time later, utterly baffled and empty-handed. I could not help wishing that the gasman had been assigned to my case instead.

In fact, acting on his earlier questions, I checked through my jewelry boxes with a fine-tooth comb. Sure enough, aside from the cash, two necklaces and my engagement bracelet, all decorated with small diamonds or diamond chips, were missing as well. I updated my police report, but did not honestly hold out much hope of being reunited with the money or jewelry anytime soon.

In the meantime, my husband never made it to Yerushalayim that day; he turned around and hurried back home to offer me moral support.

He also shared his own side of the story with me.

“I was in the car, about to leave,” he confessed. “But I noticed an unfamiliar guy loitering around outside our house… I stuck around for a few more minutes, but nothing happened,” he continued. “So I drove off after all… Now I am so angry at myself!”

Naama Klein

Iran Gets Points for Good Behavior in Exceeding Heavy Water Quota

Friday, November 11th, 2016

It turns out that John Kerry’s State Dept. grades Iran on a curve, as can be seen from an exchange between State Department spokesperson Mark Toner and a reporter on Wednesday. The reporter pointed out Wednesday’s IAEA report which found Iran to be in violation of the heavy water stockpile provision, for a second time.

Can Iran still be considered to be adhering to its commitments?

Toner confirmed that, “indeed, the IAEA has observed that Iran has slightly exceeded its 130 metric ton heavy water stockpile limit under the JCPOA by 100 kilograms,” but stressed that “that’s about one-tenth of a metric ton,” which doesn’t sound so bad, until one does the math and realizes it’s about 220 pounds of heavy water.

Heavy water is used as a moderating agent in reactors fueled by natural uranium, so the amount of heavy water Iran has been creating should be more than enough to scare us.

All of which was lost on Toner, who actually told this reporter: “It’s important to note that Iran made no effort to hide what it was doing from the IAEA. During the course of its ongoing heavy water production, Iran produced a little more heavy water than permitted but is now taking steps to address the issue by shipping the excess quantity out of the country, we expect in the coming days. So the IAEA flagged us. Iran made no attempt to hide it, and they’re taking immediate steps to address it.”

Yes, world peace has been secured for 100 years… The sheer absurdity of Toner’s comments was not lost on the pesky reporter, and the following harsh back & forth ensued:

Reporter:  And that’s supposed to make – that’s supposed to be a relief, that they made no effort to hide it?

Toner:  No, I just wanted to – I said —

Reporter:  So it’s okay if they blatantly violate it and don’t try and to – don’t try to cover it up?  I don’t get it.

Toner:  Well, Matt —

Reporter:  It’s a violation, is it not?

Toner:  Well, look, it is – so they exceeded the limits.  They acknowledged it.

Reporter:  Right.  That’s a violation, is it not?

Toner:  Well, again, it’s – but they’re addressing it.  I mean, this is something that —

Reporter:  But did they – so you don’t think – they violated the deal and you can’t – and you won’t say that they violated the deal?  I don’t —

Toner:  So they – again, yes, they exceeded the allowable amount of heavy water that they were permitted.

Reporter:  Is that or is that not a violation of the agreement?  Whether or not they’re taking steps to address it, they still violated it, didn’t they?

Toner:  I’m not sure whether that constitutes a formal violation. I’d have to look into that, to be honest with you. I mean, they certainly exceeded, again, what their – their allowable amount of heavy water.  Whether that constitutes, again, a formal violation of JCPOA writ large, I’m not certain about that.  Again, what’s important here is that this was detected, it was acknowledged, and they’re taking steps to address it.

Thank God, only two more months of this remain…

David Israel

Lessons from 5776, Optimism for 5777

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

As we take our leave from 5776, I would sum it up as the year that Israel discovered the correct paradigm for dealing with her adversaries.

In previous years, many believed Israel’s military superiority allowed and even obliged her to take “risks for peace.” Others believed that propping up the economies of Israel’s neighbors until they were on par with her own, while giving up land, would bring peace.

But in 5776, Israel discovered that the secret for a relatively peaceful status quo comes not from creating economic parity, giving away land or taking risks, but rather by creating economic dependence, along with the application of Israel’s military superiority.

It should be made clear that a peaceful status quo is a separate discussion from what Israel’s long term vision for the region should be — whether that solution be Israel applying phased or full sovereignty over all of Israel’s territories, a confederation with Jordan, or some other ideas not yet tested or considered.

It’s been repeatedly noted that only one of the terror attacks by PA Arabs in this recent terror wave was executed by an individual with an Israeli work permit.

Israelis have learned that no matter how much their neighbors may hate them (and by the way, not all of Israel’s neighbors close and far hate Israel), or how much incitement they absorb from Palestinian Authority TV and the Islamic preachers, their families and villages depend on the money they make from Israelis, and all of them, save one, would not dare risk that.

Which is why the Palestinian Authority tried its best to force these Arab workers to stop working in the settlements, and why it failed. (PA Arabs make three times more working for Israelis than they do working in the Palestinian Authority.)

Incidentally, Israel would probably help the future stability of Judea and Samaria by announcing it will guarantee PA police salaries should the Palestinian Authority collapse under the weight of its own incompetence and corruption or Abbas’ retirement or death.

There’s very little that creates more loyalty than a paycheck paid on time.

Despite the roadblocks set up by Israel’s High Court, 5776 concluded with Jordan signing a $10 billion gas deal with Israel, which a Jordanian official said will save Jordan $600 million a year. It’s a deal that might very well tie Jordan’s economic stability to Israel for the next 15 years, along with the fresh water that Israel provides them.

Besides natural gas, Turkey, Greece, various Arab countries, some African states, India, Russia and China are looking to purchase or enter business partnerships with Israel, to acquire Israeli technology, military experience and equipment, fresh water solutions, solar energy, agricultural know-how or simply gain access to Israeli projects.

As these countries and others become more reliant on what Israel has to offer, there will be a gradual, visible change in their public attitudes, voting in international forums, and policies towards Israel, as Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out in his speech last month before the UN General Assembly.

On the military side, this past year, the IDF finally resumed its function in actively preventing terrorism, rather than restricting itself to a reactive mode. IDF soldiers have been raiding the hornet nests in the Palestinian Authority every night, to confiscate illegal weapons and ammunition, uncover weapons factories and erode the terror networks of Hamas, the PLO, and the various Islamic Jihadi groups which expanded operations under former defense ministers Ehud Barak and Moshe Ya’alon. And, surprisingly, these IDF actions hardly provoke any international condemnation, save for criticism from Haaretz.

It was also the year Israel has actively taken on BDS, and began to beat it down, state after US state.

Obviously, all was not rosy this past year.

Thanks to the Iran deal, a revitalized Islamic Iran has been expanding its terror operations. But as Iran and their client Hezbollah try to establish terror bases on Israel’s Golan Heights’ border, Syrian Rebels are fighting those Iranian and Hezbollah terrorists on the Golan — the same rebels who are reportedly receiving much-needed medical aid from Israel.

There has been an upswing in Israeli Arabs participating in terror attacks and joining ISIS due to Islamic radicalization, incitement and propaganda, but Israel is already learning how to deal with them.

Hamas is still destroying Gaza as it continues to prepare for another round of fighting with Israel.

In the spring of 5777, Israel will celebrate 50 years since the liberation of our ancient lands of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem from the illegal Jordanian occupation. Expect the usual NGOs (under new names and old) and Israel haters to foment their venomous propaganda, and also expect fewer and fewer people, everywhere in the world, to pay attention.

There’s concern over Obama’s anticipated November surprise at the UN.

And, of course, there will be the new challenges that either candidate for US president will present to Israel.

At the JewishPress.com we believe we have reason to be optimistic.

Israel has made significant positive changes this past year, with strategic, long term ideas being implemented, already with noticeable results. 5777 will bring challenges, even difficult ones, but we believe Israel is ready for them.

Shana Tova – Have a sweet new year.

Stephen Leavitt

Israel Expected to Supply Additional 30 Million Cubic Meters of Water to PA

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

At the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, Israel’s representative, Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara, reported the anticipated signing of an agreement by Israel to supply the Palestinian Authority with an additional 30 Million cubic meters of water (6,599,077,500 gallons) as part of the planned Red Sea–Dead Sea Canal.

All of which did not stop the PA representative from launching a sharp attack on Israel’s water policy.

David Israel

On the Kinneret

Monday, August 29th, 2016

On the Kinneret

On the Kinneret

On the Kinneret

Photo of the Day

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