Water, water, everywhere…

One of the prophecies as to the end of days involves the world looking up at Israel and recognizing the absolute uniqueness and divinity of the G-d of the Old Testament. I am by no means a history expert, but I have been told by those that do have an extensive knowledge of ancient times, that the Greeks and Romans had a great deal of respect for the Jewish culture and academics, first of all respecting the fact that Judaism predated their cultures by 1500 years and more. This however hardly manifested as the peoples of the world recognizing our true special place in history as well as geography.

My wife sent me a link to the following article that just appeared in the New York Times. The article speaks to Israel’s astounding success in fighting back the effect of droughts. A few years ago, the water situation in Israel was so bad that the average Israeli was actually becoming concerned about opening their taps but not seeing any water come out. The first major step that was made towards the public was to inform everyone of the situation and request/demand that Israelis start really saving water. This effort actually led to a near 20% reduction in water use, which in and of itself is a tremendous demonstration of Israelis’ capabilities to band together when really needed.

The real change came when various water recapture technologies were implemented, most significant of which was desalination. Today, 50% of Israel’s needs for water come from various water recapture techniques. If deemed necessary, Israel could build further desalination plants and almost eliminate dependence on rainwater.  As it stands now, Israel actually has a surplus of water and can begin to use it as a bargaining tool in trying to keep local relations calmer.

What I took away from this article was a number of points. Firstly, as I noted above, Israelis really are amazing when it comes to pulling together towards a common goal. Despite all the infighting and the jokes about how typical Israelis deal with problems, Israel has a long history of sharing in the difficulties and then rejoicing together after the victories. Another key point is that just a decade ago, people were speaking to the risk of water depletion becoming the basis for further infighting and wars within the Middle East. Just a few years later, that specific risk has been eliminated. This is just another of the endless examples of how technology is underestimated as to its transformative power, as well as the speed at which it can create that transformation. It is because of this, along with Israel’s standing as a world leader in implementing technologies, that any type of prediction related to almost anything, not just in the Middle East, is meaningless.

Let’s take a quick look at the Iron Dome technology. This defensive system was so successful that the world challenged Israel’s sense of needing to fight back against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Since this technology was keeping Israelis safe, it was felt by the world that Israel should just tolerate the constant bombing rather than go to war. According to the world, where for example the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians is apparently of no great interest, Israel should have been willing to absorb a few deaths in order to avoid war. I will spare everyone my somewhat obvious viewpoint on this matter.

What I do want to point out  is that an equivalent technology being worked on today, could potentially eliminate the threat from ICBMs. If Israel is able to create a defensive shield that effectively eliminates the risk from Iranian nuclear missiles, it definitely raises the question of how such an attack by Iran should be responded to. Once again, I definitely do not want to get into the political discussion of how to manage these threats.

I simply want to point out that the implementation of such a protective technology would fundamentally change the map in terms of real threats to Israel from its neighbors. And it is likely that such a change in real threat, would spill over into the political forum. It is therefore effectively impossible to predict how the Middle East will look in five years from now, just as it was totally unexpected that the “Arab Spring” would transform the Middle East as it has over the last five years.

Many places around the world, including major metropolises in the United States, are suffering from severe drought. Representatives from various states in America have been in contact with Israel to learn and also to receive assistance in implementing their own water saving systems. At this point, it is not just the New York Times that turns the world’s eyes towards Israel. I have heard it said before by leaders within the Muslim community that one and a half billion Muslims seem to fail to achieve anything close to the successes of a few million Israelis. Once again, I do not submit my personal answer to this apparent conundrum. I will allow people to come to their own conclusions.

The world is looking at Israel. Our greatest enemies recognize our tremendous success in a whole range of fields. I have little doubt that we will produce technologies that will change the entire face of war, and potentially change warfare so drastically, that it may become futile. Imagine a world where there is simply no recognized benefit to going to war. Perhaps it will be important for Israel to symbolically use some of the no-longer-necessary war instruments for creating plowshares, just to drive the point home.

I believe that we are definitely on a path towards a world that will, very reluctantly, look up to Mount Mariah and finally admit that chance and luck cannot explain our history and our present success. I even am willing to believe that such an event will happen at least during my children’s lifetime.

I admit that I wouldn’t set my clock by biblical prophecy. But it definitely is a nice thing to see transpire in our time.

Thanks for listening

About the Author
Dr. Nahum Kovalski received his bachelor's of science in computer science and his medical degree in Canada. He came to Israel in 1991 and married his wife of 22 years in 1992. He has 3 amazing children and has lived in Jerusalem since making Aliyah. Dr. Kovalski was with TEREM Emergency Medical Services for 21 years until June of 2014, and is now a private consultant on medicine and technology.
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