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Standing Senate Commission on Rural Development visited Israel and Palestine on 6 – 10 March 2016

The main goal of the working visit of the Senate delegation to Israel was - from an expert point of view - exchange of experiences in the field of rural development, agriculture and water management. The delegation visited the Arava region - famous for agricultural research in semi-desert areas. The delegation met with Mr. Boaz Horovitz, Director of the Center for Research in Hatseva and Mrs. Hanni Arnon, Director of Arava International Center for Agriculture Training. Further, the delegation visited Bedouin community in the Beersheba region and met Dr. Mohammad Almabarim, Mayor of Hura and discussed the Wadi Attir project "laboratories of sustainable regional development".

The official program included a meeting with Mr. Yoel Hasson, Deputy Speaker of Knesset.  Mr. Hasson briefly reported on his recent business trip to the Czech Republic. Israel appreciates friendly and intensive political relations with the Czech Republic that are underlined by interparliamentarian and intergovernmental meetings and consultations. Further potential for increased cooperation exists especially in the economic field, in science and research, and security cooperation. As a member of the Committee on Science and Technology, Mr. Hasson promised to support joint R&D projects, explaining that 'The role of politicians is to transform good relations on the political level into concrete cooperation projects."

Mr. Přemysl Sobotka, Vice-Chairman of the Czech Senate and Head of the Delegation, expressed gratitude for the warm welcome and productive meetings, and expressed his belief that the intensity of bilateral meetings demonstrates the importance that both countries attach to mutual relations. At the conclusion, Mr. Přemysl Sobotka mentioned the Conference "Two Little Countries, One Big Heart" that will take place in April in the Czech Senate.

The Senate delegation then visited Desalination plant in Hadera, which ranks globally among the largest facilities for seawater desalination by reverse osmosis. The work program also included visit to a fish farm Madan in the kibbutz Ma'agan Michael. The last day of the working visit was dedicated for the meetings with Mr. Itzik Ben David, Head of Foreign Trade, and Mr. Arie Regev, Director of Foreign Relations Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, who gave a overview of Israeli Agriculture and the Ministry's Activities. The Delegation also met with Prof. Sheenan Harpaz, former Deputy Director for Research & Development in the Agricultural Research Institute.


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