Israel and Arizona have a few common challenges – a need for both water and border security.
Last month, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey led a delegation of the heads of his state's Commerce Authority and Chamber of Commerce on a five-day visit to Israel – his third as governor.
Ducey’s main priorities on the trip were water, trade and border security, specifically learning from Israel’s water policies and technological expertise, the Jerusalem Post reported. Throughout his seven-year term as governor, Ducey has worked to boost economic ties with Israel and to learn from its experiences in water production because of Arizona's similar arid climate.
He visited a desalination plant as part of his plans to improve water access in Arizona.
“Toured an extensive desalination plant in Israel,” Ducey tweeted. “Innovations like these are part of the solution to secure our water future. In January’s state of the state, we said desalination made Israel the world’s superpower – and it’s clear to see here.”
Israel has become a global leader in water purification technology out of a need to deal with its own challenges with chronic water shortages. The country is still more than half desert and suffers from recurring periods of drought, yet Israel now produces 20% more water than it uses. Israel applied innovation and technology to solve its water scarcity problems and can now provide solutions to other countries and regions suffering from similar predicaments.
Israel has especially revolutionized water purification technology, managing to treat and recycle 86% of its wastewater for agricultural operations, and aims to recycle 95% of wastewater for agriculture by 2025.
“My time is limited, but we have been working on this for a long time,” Ducey said about the advanced desalination project in Arizona that he discussed with Israeli leaders. “Arizona is one of the fastest-growing states. People are flocking to the desert, where we have excellent water management, but we need a new great project to leave the state better than it was when we started.”
The visit was also used to strengthen economic ties between Israel and Arizona and Ducey and his delegation met with a large selection of Israeli business leaders. In meetings with Israeli officials, the prospects of increasing Israel and Arizona’s $677 million in annual trade in hi-tech and cybersecurity were discussed.
“With our shared industries, climates, populations and values, Arizona and Israel are strong, strategic partners.” Ducey tweeted. “We will continue to build on our shared interests & strengths in aerospace, border security and water management. Good to meet with Israeli business leaders.”
As part of those business meetings, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed a memorandum of understanding with the Israeli Chamber of Commerce.
“Proud to join @TlvChamber in the signing of a historic memorandum of understanding,” the President and CEO of the Arizona trade chamber, Danny Seiden, tweeted, “This agreement reinforces our mutual commitment to continue to grow & strengthen the AZ/Israel economic & trade relationship. Looking forward to a long & productive partnership!”
“This is great for Arizona’s economy!” Ducey added about the memorandum. “Israel is an unwavering partner and we’ll continue to strengthen ties between the Startup State & Startup Nation.”
Border security was also largely featured during the trip, with Ducey touring Israel’s security fences to learn about surveillance and technology that he wants to establish on Arizona’s southern border with Mexico.
“We do have a wall, a physical barrier, but there are gaps that have invited human smuggling, drug cartels and crime that we would like to eliminate,” Ducey said. “The wall that began under the Trump administration was stopped during the Biden administration and a price is being paid for it.”
Ducey and his delegation also visited Teva Pharmaceuticals – a world-leading Israeli pharmaceutical company - Israel’s 9/11 Living Memorial Plaza in Jerusalem - where he was awarded the “Defender of Israel” recognition by the Menachem Begin Heritage Center - and historic sites, such as the City of David.
He also met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.