By Melvyn Kohn
October 17, 2008
A story in the JC this week by Nathan Jafay was too important to appear on p. 21. Halal beer prominent placement than a story on Israel about to run out of water? OK, there is precedent for this; the Knesset ignores such a story year after year, so why give it any attention at all? The Kinneret is about to run so low that the red line has been crossed and the black line looms. No worries, folks, everything under control.The Talmud states that this lake, the lowest fresh water lake in the world is God's special delight, but so what? Aquifers and wells have not been properly rehabilitated, but don't get upset. The lower water levels mean odd algae appear, but, hey, that's biodiversity! Over fishing is depleting stock - again, not to worry. The Kinneret is no longer feeding water regularly to the River Jordan, and as a result, tourism is drying up. But hey, don't get upset.
Nathan Jafay exhorts, perhaps tongue in cheek, that we don't need to wreck Christ's lake. OK, 1.5 billion people might take that especially to heart, however lightheartedly he is throwing that one out, but 5 million people need to take action.
Jafay also notes that agriculture is drinking up the water, Israel is exporting its water in every basket of fruit. And in every bundle of cotton, I would like to add. The cotton industry - and even more so the organic cotton industry - which is a refuge of trendy, selfish fools, is water intensive; feed me Seymour, cries the plant in the Little Shop of Horrors, but it is not as bad as Gossypium crying out for our precious water. This monster plant has depleted the Aral Sea to 50% of its '60s volume. Farmers cannot make a living, unless they work for the global cotton plantation industry. Many don't want to work on Martha's farm no more.
But the likes of Sir Philip Green are pushing the world - Israel included - to use more of this. It is easy for them to sell.
But other textile crops would do better. Sisal is a desert monocot from which we could make ropes and coarse fibres, and hemp is a less water intensive alternative. Both could grow in the Negev, though the latter would require some irrigation. Which could be easily provided from solar power, as large mirrors heat salt water in a tower, providing steam and desalinsated water. Sounds easy? It is.
The other alternative is to do nothing, make excuses, and run dry. Don't expect tears from Green, he and his tax free billions will be on his yacht. Water, water, everywhere, but not enough for Israel.
Green may accomplish what Ahmadinejad only dreams about.