Science Can Solve Israel’s Economic Problems, U.S. Scientist Says

Science and technology “form the indispensable basis” for the solution of Israeli economic problems, according to a report published today by “Science,” periodical of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Graham du Shane, editor of “Science,” reported on conclusions drawn from his recent visit to Israel. He said that, “aside from its shortages in most of the minerals that provide the basis for industrial production, the country has two dominating needs: energy and water.”

Dr. du Shane pointed out that, because power is expensive in Israel, the Israeli factories are at a “competitive disadvantage.” He described the attempts to solve the power problem, and predicted that “solar power may provide a partial solution to the power shortage.” In Israel’s water needs, “the great hope lies in the proposed diversion of the waters of the Jordan–an undertaking which at present is politically impossible,” he said in his report.

The report in “Science” stressed that Israel’s coordinated attack upon the water problem does not end with irrigation schemes. It said: “All feasible ways of desalting water are under study, but so far the product is relatively expensive; if the power requirements are low, the capital costs are high or the output rate is low. Among the schemes being investigated are steam distillation at nuclear power stations, solar distillation, compression distillation, freezing processes, direct filtration, and electrodialysis.”

The report revealed that the water problem was being approached from other angles. “Plants that can tolerate brackish water are being sought and, in one unorthodox proposal, an attempt is being made to modify the salt balance of brackish water by the addition of supplemental salts, thus making it suitable for agriculture,” the report stated.

Dr. du Shane said he was very favorably impressed with the quality of Israel’s scientists and their work. He emphasized that he was most impressed by their idealism and devotion to their work and its role in the building of the state. He noted a growing utilization of scientific capacities by the State.

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