On Sunday, the Canadian diplomats travelled south to the Sderot reservoir, which enjoys support from Friends of KKL-JNF from all over the world, including in Vancouver and Calgary, which hold special Negev Dinners to raise funds for projects in Israel’s south. The group was met by the KKL-JNF Regional Director Elisha Mizrachi. Elisha explained the importance of agriculture to the area, and how it all connects to the need for cities to purify their own sewage water, in order to enable them to expand.
From there, the diplomats were met at the Sderot police station by Barak, the head of the bomb disposal unit, who explained the difficult circumstances the residents of Sderot have had to live with over the past 12 years. While driving around Sderot, one could see the security structures that have been erected all over the city, in order to provide readily available shelter within 15 seconds of the sound of the siren.
On Monday, the Canadian Environmental Minister and the Canadian Ambassador to Israel travelled north to see two main KKL-JNF sites in the region; the Carmel Forest and Hula Lake Park. At the Carmel, head of KKL-JNF Afforestation in the North Kalil Adar gave the group a briefing on the Carmel fires of 2010, and the rehabilitation work that is being carried out following the fire.
Daniel Carmon, head of Israel’s agency for international development, and Julian Fantino, Canada’s International Co-operation Minister, met in Ottawa Tuesday to sign the new agreement. Mr. Carmon said the deal will encourage the two countries to share strategies for international development and could lead to partnerships on specific projects.
“We have obligations as developed countries … to not sit idle and see people in the developing world suffer or not get the education or the health or the most basic human rights and other rights that every human being should receive,” he said.
The agreement comes after Israel earned a rare rebuke from some of its closest allies – including Canada – over its decision to build settlements east of Jerusalem. Canada previously backed Israel’s use of air strikes in Gaza last month and campaigned against a vote to give Palestine status as a non-member observer state at the United Nations. That vote passed 138 to nine, leaving Canada part of a minority of countries that voted with Israel.
Mr. Carmon said Israel “has a lot to contribute” to the world, but admitted that the country struggles to work through multilateral institutions like the United Nations, where he once served as a deputy ambassador for Israel.
“Israel has been maltreated in some multilateral fora,” he said. “Since it has been a very complicated arena for us, we have not been as active in this multilateral world for many years and we are sort of coming back to the stage in recent years. And we are very active and we are relying on our good friends.”
He said Israel is eager to share its expertise in research and innovation with developing countries, as well as its success in agriculture. Earlier this year, Canada and Israel agreed to increase co-operation on agriculture. They also have memorandums of understanding between their space agencies and on industrial research.
Canada and Israel each have similar international development agreements with several other countries. But while Canada has faced some criticism over its unwavering support for Israel, it still has a reputation as a good global citizen, something that could help boost Israel’s work in the developing world.
The Canadian International Development Agency declined to comment on the memorandum of understanding, and Mr. Fantino’s office had not responded to questions about the agreement by late Tuesday. But in an announcement circulated by the Israeli embassy, Mr. Fantino is quoted as saying the two countries share a “bond of friendship and are allies in the democratic family of countries.” He added that greater co-operation between CIDA and Mashav, Israel’s aid agency, will help those most in need and contribute to “a more secure and prosperous world.”
Mr. Carmon was in Ottawa to participate in a multi-day meeting of scientists and development experts hosted by Grand Challenges Canada, a federally funded group that works on global health, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Earlier on Tuesday, Mr. Fantino announced CIDA would partner with Grand Challenges to bring more ideas for health innovation to the developing world. He also touted Canada’s contribution to maternal and child health through its landmark Muskoka Initiative and suggested the partnership would help build on Canada’s efforts.
Mr. Fantino has spent the last several weeks explaining, in a series of interviews and speeches,why and how CIDA plans to increase its engagement with the private sector, a move that has led to concerns that the agency is straying from its core poverty-reduction mandate.
He called innovation in health a “critical piece of the development puzzle” – one that can involve partners from a variety of sectors, including private companies.
“Innovative responses are needed that encompass new development approaches, new partnerships and enhanced research and development,” he said. “We need to encourage new ideas and new thinking.”
Source: Glove and Mail
Canada and Israel have agreed to work together going forward to promote a United Nations resolution that would double the percentage of wastewater reused across the world, the Energy and Water Ministry said on Sunday.
The agreement is a result of a meeting on Sunday between Israeli Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau and Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent, in Landau’s Jerusalem office. During their meeting, the ministers discussed a wide array of topics, including political, economic and environmental issues, according to the ministry. Landau particularly thanked his colleague for Canada’s vote against the Palestinian bid for UN non-member observer status, stressing that that negotiations can only be achieved without preconditions and without unilateral bids.
“We remember the times that the UN passed a resolution equating Zionism to racism,” Landau said. “Even then, Canada stood by our side.”
Because of the “long-standing, warm and strong relationship” that stands between Israel and Canada, countries that espouse share values and beliefs, the country is a natural partner to Israel in its ongoing effort to develop natural resources, according to Landau.
“By means of working relations forged last year between the two countries, we have even used Canadian knowledge in formulating new procedures,” Landau said, referring to new regulations on marine drilling that the ministry is currently establishing.
Landau briefed Kent on the efforts invested by Israel in improving the environment, which have had a particular emphasis on water and have given the country the “world record” in terms of amount of treated wastewater reused in irrigation, according to the ministry. A total of 90 percent of Israeli sewage is treated, and 75% of the treated wastewater is used in agriculture, he explained.
“It would be great if we could work together to promote the subject, with an emphasis on assistance to third world countries,” Kent responded.
From this discussion, the ministers then agreed that as part of the UN’s 2013 International Year of Water Cooperation, the two offices will jointly to advance a UN resolution that calls for a doubling of wastewater reuse across the world by 2025. Landau first presented this aspiration at the Sixth World Water Forum held in March in Marseilles, according to the ministry.
“Wastewater treatment as a resource rather than as waste is a change in thinking that we’ve made in Israel, and it is important for us to lead this [change] across the world,” Landau said.
Kent added, “Canadian residents have much to learn from this country’s citizens about intelligent water use and conservation.”
by Andrew Lee
Before coming here, I never would have expected Israel to have such a prominent music scene. Courtesy of the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University, we were invited to have dinner and a concert. Before going, I looked forward to the dinner but dreaded theconcert. Loud music and mosh pits never appealed to me. However, What transpired was beyond what I imagined and the whole event reminded me of a posh dinner with live music back in Toronto. And the music, it blew me away. I have been learning Hebrew for 3 months now and I never equated Hebrew and music but after that night, I would never see Hebrew the same. Although I barely understood anything, I was transported to another world. Idan Haviv truly changed my outlook on Israel as not only a nation with such a rich history but one that is pushing the boundaries of modern culture. Never again will I see Israel as I did in the past.
I would like to send my warmest greetings to the Jewish community in Canada and around the world for a happy and peaceful Chanukah.
“The story of Chanukah reminds us that hope and faith can overcome any challenge and provide light in times of darkness. The nightly lighting of the menorah during Chanukah commemorates the liberation of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple over 2,000 years ago, and the miracle of the oil lamp which lasted for eight full days in the reclaimed Temple, when it was only meant to last for one.
“Chanukah also reminds us that, as Canadians, we are blessed to live in a safe and peaceful society, one which has been enriched by the countless contributions and achievements of the Jewish-Canadian community.
“During these challenging times, we reaffirm our commitment to stand by the Jewish people and we pray for peace during the holiday season and in the year ahead.
“Laureen and I look forward to joining the Jewish community in celebrating Chanukah Monday evening at our home in Ottawa.”
President Obama on Friday issued Hanukkah greetings on behalf of himself and First Lady Obama to Jews across the globe. The holiday begins at sundown on Saturday, and the President called “for people of all faiths to recognize the common aspirations we share.” (Above, the President, First Lady, and the Bidens at the 2011 White House Hanukkah reception)
“Michelle and I send our warmest wishes to all those celebrating Hanukkah around the world,” President Obama said.
“This Hanukkah season we remember the powerful story of the Maccabees who rose up to liberate their people from oppression. Upon discovering the desecration of their Temple, the believers found only enough oil to light the lamp for one night. And yet it lasted for eight.
“Hanukkah is a time to celebrate the faith and customs of the Jewish people, but it is also an opportunity for people of all faiths to recognize the common aspirations we share. This holiday season, let us give thanks for the blessings we enjoy, and remain mindful of those who are suffering. And let us reaffirm our commitment to building a better, more complete world for all.
“From our family to the Jewish Community around the world, Chag Sameach.”