Israel Comes to the Aid of Southeast Asian Farmers

June 22 2021

Since Zionist pioneers first began their efforts to make the desert bloom, the Land of Israel has been a source of agricultural innovation. For decades, the Jewish state has also exported these innovations, teaching drip-irrigation to farmers in Africa and techniques for increasing milk production to cattle ranchers in China. Dylan Loh describes how Southeast Asia is seeking to cooperate with Israel to increase its own agricultural output:

Israel expanded its cooperation with Thailand by marking the opening of a second greenhouse facility in the Petchburi province in October. This followed its installation of the first greenhouse in 2018 as a demonstration unit for farmers in the area. The project is equipped with Israel’s irrigation and sprinkler systems designed for efficient and sustainable agricultural production, and involved Israeli experts who helped Thai farmers apply the technologies to growing crops.

In another instance of bilateral engagement, Vietnam is set to ink a Labor Cooperation Agreement with Israel as soon as this year. Under the agreement, Vietnamese workers will be sent to Israel to gain experience in the country’s agricultural sector. Like Thailand, Vietnam has Israeli-enabled greenhouses . . . where farmers have successfully cultivated some crops using hydroponic techniques.

As Southeast Asia grapples with food-security threats arising from climate change and supply disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, Israel’s experience with agriculture has gained attention among a handful of the region’s countries seeking to enhance farming practices.

By exporting its experience to the region, Israel’s presence in Southeast Asia’s agri-food sector is set to grow, even in non-agrarian societies like Singapore, which has set a goal to produce 30 percent of its nutritional needs by 2030.

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Read more at Nikkei Asia

More about: Israel diplomacy, Israeli agriculture, Israeli technology, Southeast Asia, Vietnam

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia