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.

Read more at Nikkei Asia

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

In the Aftermath of a Deadly Attack, President Sisi Should Visit Israel

On June 3, an Egyptian policeman crossed the border into Israel and killed three soldiers. Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow urge President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to respond by visiting the Jewish state as a show of goodwill:

Such a dramatic gesture is not without precedent: in 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls visiting the “Isle of Peace,” a parcel of farmland previously under Israeli jurisdiction that Jordan leased back to Israel as part of the Oslo peace process. In a remarkable display of humanity, King Hussein of Jordan, who had only three years earlier signed a peace agreement with Israel, traveled to the Jewish state to mourn with the families of the seven girls who died in the massacre.

That massacre unfolded as a diplomatic cold front descended on Jerusalem and Amman. . . . Yet a week later, Hussein flipped the script. “I feel as if I have lost a child of my own,” Hussein lamented. He told the parents of one of the victims that the tragedy “affects us all as members of one family.”

While security cooperation [between Cairo and Jerusalem] remains strong, the bilateral relationship is still rather frosty outside the military domain. True normalization between the two nations is elusive. A survey in 2021 found that only 8 percent of Egyptians support “business or sports contacts” with Israel. With a visit to Israel, Sisi can move beyond the cold pragmatism that largely defines Egyptian-Israeli relations and recast himself as a world figure ready to embrace his diplomatic partners as human beings. At a personal level, the Egyptian leader can win international acclaim for such a move rather than criticism for his country’s poor human-rights record.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: General Sisi, Israeli Security, Jordan