Grapevine July 18, 2021: UAE strengthens academic ties with Israel

In the excitement of the official opening of the UAE Embassy last week, most media ignored the presence at the event of the UAE Minister of Food Security and Water , Mariam Al-Muhairi, who, during her visit to Israel, met the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. representatives, with the aim of promoting a research and innovation partnership based on foodtech and agtech. As part of his visit, Al-Muhairi met with HU’s Vice President for Strategy and Diversity, Prof. Mona Khoury-Kassabri; Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment Robert H. Smith Prof. Benny Chefetz; university researchers; and Agricora CEO Moshe Nadler.

The meeting marked the first official visit by a senior official of the United Arab Emirates government to an Israeli academic institution since the announcement of the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates under the Abrahamic accords negotiated by the United Arab Emirates. United States.

Topics covered included adaptation of plants to heat and desert conditions, smart uses of water and the latest innovations in agriculture. Israel and the United Arab Emirates are both keenly interested in finding the most efficient use of their resources and ensuring the production of high-quality seeds and food at a time of climate change and global warming.

Al-Muhairi, accompanied by UAE Ambassador Mohamed Al Khaja, also visited Ben Gurion University in the Negev for the opening of the Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Food Security in the Desert. She said the center is “an important step forward in improving water security in arid and semi-arid regions, focusing on exploring new ways to conserve water, treat and recycle gray water and supply the population in a sustainable way. The UAE has made tremendous efforts to improve its own integrated water resources management, with solar powered desalination being an area where we have made tremendous progress, ”she commented, adding that UAE looked forward to sharing their knowledge in this and other fields. with BGU’s Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Food Security in the Desert and develop a mutual expertise exchange partnership that can help the two countries enjoy a water secure future. Mohamed Al Khaja, Chairman and CEO of Watergen, Dr Michael Mirilashvili, Chairman of BGU, Professor Daniel Chamovitz, and UAE Minister for Food and Water Security, Mariam Al-Muhairi. (Credit: Dani Machlis / BGU)

Al Khaja spoke of peace and working together to open a new path for people and young people in the region, while Dr Michael Mirilashvili underlined the urgency of the tasks at hand.

“It’s more than a gift,” he said. “We will create technologies that will make the world a better place. “

■ AFTER LIVING through a traumatic time in Miami as he tried to comfort the Jewish community reeling from the loss of friends and loved ones during the disastrous Surfside condominium collapse, Diaspora Nachman Shai turned their attention to less emotional issues in a Zoom Lecture with Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler, CEO Ginette Searle and Israel Bureau Director Moriah Ben David.

Leibler and Searle would have loved to make it an in-person meeting, but they are still bound by Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions on round-trip flights out of the country. However, in some cases people coming to aliyah are allowed to fly, as happened with Adina Bankier-Karp, her husband, Danny, and their children, Yonatan and Yehuda, who arrived in Israel this this month from Melbourne. Before leaving Australia, Searle gave them a mezuzah for their new home.

Australian Jews have a reputation for being passionately Zionists, a factor that Shai, who has a fairly long relationship with Australian Jewish community, is well aware of.

Discussing the diverse makeup of Israel’s new government, Shai underscored his commitment to representing all Israelis and bridging disagreements with the Jewish diaspora.

With the historic coalition comprising the Arab Israeli Ra’am Party, Shai noted that there is optimism that Israel will do better for the Arab Israeli sector, which currently comprises 20% of the population.

Leibler told Shai: “The failure of the former government to keep its promise to establish a meaningful egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel [Western Wall] caused significant frustration and disappointment within the Australian Jewish community. He expressed the hope that the new government will seek to resolve this problem urgently.

Searle later said that Shai “was eager to hear about our current particular challenge of fostering a sustained connection with Israel while being unable to visit. This is essential for both us and the Minister, and we look forward to working with him and his ministry in the future to strengthen ties at different levels. “

Shai will have further reason to have contact with the Jewish community on July 27, when he addresses a ZFA executive meeting and participates in the substantive discussion that follows on Israel relations. -diaspora.

■ TWO AUSTRALIANS living in Israel and active in Zionist businesses organize an Australian meeting for Jerusalem-based Australians living in Israel. The initiative, under the title of “Jerusalem-Aussie Catch-Up” comes from Rachel Risby Raz and Andy Michelson. The date is Wednesday, July 21 at 8 p.m. at the HaButke outdoor beer bar at Jerusalem’s First Station. Australians living outside Jerusalem, and even as far away as Australia, have indicated they would like to come. For some it is a little too difficult, but for those who live no further than Tel Aviv and its surroundings, it is barely an hour’s drive, and less if they live in Modi’in, which home to many Australian expats, as well as other English speakers. .

■ A LITTLE MORE than a week after leaving the Jewish Agency where he was president for three years, President Isaac Herzog was back. Well, not exactly, but his first visit to a senior citizen facility was at the new Joseph Wilf home for the elderly in Tel Aviv, which is part of the Jewish Agency’s Amigour social housing program. The 290-unit apartment complex is home to the elderly, including Holocaust survivors and recent immigrants. This is the first completed project of a national initiative between the government of Israel and the Jewish Agency to build 2,650 housing units across the country on land owned by the Jewish Agency, together with the global Jewish community. supporting this humanitarian effort.

Herzog was heavily involved in this project while he was chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency. During the unveiling of a donor sign in the lobby of the building, Herzog thanked the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federations of North America, Mark Wilf, his wife Jane and their extended family for their substantial contributions. to the project named in memory of Wilf’s father, Joseph Wilf, a Holocaust survivor and prominent leader of his local Jewish community in New Jersey. Members of the Wilf family have been extremely generous in donating to various projects in Israel.

“I am very moved to be here as President of Israel,” Herzog said. “This is my first visit to an Amigour seniors’ residence as president, and I intend to promote the interests of these vulnerable populations in Israel from the presidential residence. This is a special project that I have personally overseen as chairman of the Jewish Agency, which helps older people in need who would otherwise not have the means to live in dignity.

Mark Wilf responded that when he first heard about the project he knew it would be a fitting tribute to his father, who cared so much about Israel and its people, and set an indelible example with his willingness to continue doing more to help build the Jewish state.

“It’s hard for me to overstate how proud my family and I are of this center, and how proud my beloved father would have been to see it,” he said.

“It is a moral and national imperative to take care of the elderly population in Israel,” Construction and Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin said. “This project provides an immediate solution to our seniors who have been seeking social housing for many years. “Honor your mother and your father” is not only one of the Ten Commandments; It’s a way of life. The integration of the older generations into the general population raises the standard of living across the country and promotes the idea that the community of older people living with dignity is simply part of the social fabric in Israel.

■ THE CASE of Roman Zadorov, found guilty of the murder of Tair Rada in the toilets of his school in Katzrin in December 2006, simply refuses to leave. Despite the absence of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Zadarov was not the perpetrator, or statements in his favor by forensic experts, the Nazareth District Court was not convinced, and in September 2010, Zadorov was convicted by a panel of three judges. His appeals since then have been dismissed, although there have been divisions in court decisions. Now, it seems, his case has to be tried again. Tair Rada’s mother thinks Zadorov is innocent. The same is true of various forensic and legal experts.

Some legal experts interviewed on the radio said – presuming he is innocent – that Zadorov is not the only innocent person languishing in an Israeli prison. Some have said that being arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time is so traumatic that many innocent people will sign any confession the police present to them. If this is indeed the case, perhaps the Knesset should establish a special committee to investigate the wrongful arrests and incarcerations of innocent people.

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