Social media is abuzz. The Israelis have some of the world’s most advanced technology for desalination and all the other useful things a desert nation has devised to produce water in abundance. But many say we should shun them when working out how to solve the water problems of Cape Town.
I believe there have been overtures from the Israelis, which have been politely (rudely?) rebuffed.
One of the strong lessons I learnt during decades in radio journalism is that whatever you say about Middle-Eastern politics is going to anger someone. Or lots of people. A lot.
The problems in that region are massive, with rival nations and religions having claims to the same patches or mounds of land. There has been bloodshed; there have been wars; far too many people have died.
South Africa’s conflict was resolved. Sort of. As was that in Ireland. Sort of. The Middle East, however, remains a mess, a tinder-box.
Just look at the row which broke out when Donald Trump said he was moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem – the spiritual home of…. almost everyone.
Back to water. I understand that some people are strongly opposed to doing business with Israel. And on a personal level, that is a right we all should have. You don’t like their produce? Don’t buy it.
But if we start turning off the commercial taps with Israel (literally!) are we not being a tad hypocritical?
Jacob Zuma persuaded the BRIC nations to expand, to embrace us as a member. To become the BRICS. Doing business with BRICS is brill. Or is it?
Take China? A country so free it blocks your access to social media when you visit there. A country which executes and imprisons dissidents. Lots of them. And don’t get me started on Tibet….
And don’t get me started on Russia, either, where political opponents of the regime are assassinated, where ethnic groups are brutalised, where neighbours like Ukraine are colonised. Where gay rights do not exist. Where the President’s corruption has – allegedly- made him one of the richest men in the world.
The Brazilians are a bit better, although the levels of corruption there are enough to make the Guptas salivate.
And India? A great country if you happen not be gay, or female, or from the wrong caste…..
Do you get my point? There is much in Israel to condemn, and there is every reason to argue for a radical shake-up in the region, if that can be achieved without too much violence.
But Cape Town needs more water, in the short and the long term.
The Israelis can help us. Let them.