This week marked a significant milestone for America, Israel, and the planet, as US Vice President Kamala Harris and Isaac Herzog, President of the State of Israel, unveiled a momentous $70 million partnership aimed at jointly tackling climate challenges. The initiative will see both Israel and the United States investing $35 million each to launch new food security and climate resilience projects, with a primary focus on bringing climate-smart agriculture and technology to the Middle East and Africa.
The core of this groundbreaking partnership lies in deploying cutting-edge Israeli and American technology to benefit farmers and innovators. Harris emphasized that the collaborative efforts would encompass deploying water efficiency technologies to African farms and expanding access to mobile apps that empower farmers to monitor crop health and enhance food production.
“The work that we are doing together will not only increase yield and crop quality but also address the pressing climate crisis,” said Harris, who had previously visited Israel’s impressive desalination plants and lauded the country’s pioneering approach to using innovation, science, and technology to preserve Earth’s most valuable resources. Israel’s forward-thinking practices have served as an inspiration for the United States, shaping the collective commitment to combat climate change.
At a joint press event with VP Harris the same day that President Herzog spoke to a packed joint session of Congress, President Herzog referred to the climate crisis as the “primary challenge of our time,” emphasizing his belief that climate cooperation can be a pivotal factor in creating a renewable Middle East that guarantees energy, food, and water security amidst the complexities of global climate challenges.
The following day, the Jerusalem Press Club hosted two influential leaders from Israel, Jonathan Medved, CEO and founder of OurCrowd—an active venture investing platform—and Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed, executive director of the esteemed Arava Institute, a leading environmental studies and research institution in the Middle East.
Medved passionately discussed some of the groundbreaking companies under his wing, working towards innovative climate change solutions. One standout example he shared was Blue Green Water Technologies, which not only generates profits but also improves water quality and purifies the air, achieving a remarkable trifecta in the realm of climate action.
Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed emphasized the critical role of trust in achieving climate goals. He spoke about the Arava Institute’s commendable efforts in fostering collaboration among Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, and others to address common environmental challenges, including energy, clean water, desalination, and wastewater management.
“For climate action to succeed,” Dr. Hamed stressed, “we must build partnerships based on trust, bringing people together to understand and empathize with one another. Trust is the foundation upon which effective action is built.”
Climate change, he noted, is not just an environmental concern—it poses a significant security threat. Thus, cultivating trust among neighboring communities is paramount for effective climate action, both regionally and globally.
Returning to the core themes of the newly announced partnership, Medved highlighted the critical significance of agriculture and food security. He observed that the Gulf countries, despite their substantial wealth and advanced economies, face significant food risks due to their heavy reliance on external food supplies. This vulnerability has been highlighted by recent disruptions in global supply chains.
The joint efforts between the United States, Israel, and other nations must harness innovation, funding, and most importantly, trust, to create a sustainable and harmonious world. By pooling our collective strengths and embracing forward-looking strategies, we can confront the challenges posed by climate change and build a brighter future for all.