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Special to the JTA Israel’s Solar Technology Praised

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“Israel’s advanced solar energy technology may spark the beginning of new foreign and energy politics with the United States and other countries seeking independence from OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) cartel power,” suggests California economic/energy activist Tom Hayden who represents the State of California in Western Sun, a federally funded solar energy agency, and heads the Campaign for Economic Democracy.

Accompanied by his wife, activist/actress Jane Fonda, Hayden has been stumping within the Los Angeles Jewish community to gain public and Legislative support for a joint Israel-California solar pond project in the Salton Sea near Palm Springs, an area similar to the Dead Sea in Israel.

The Salton Sea solar pond project, currently in feasibility study phase, is one of the fruits of a unique technological exchange and solar energy agreement signed last April by California Governor Edmund Brown and Israeli Premier Menachem Begin. Participating are Southern California Edison. California energy officials, and Israel’s Ormat turbine company in Yavne. If fully developed, the Salton Sea site would be capable of generating up to 600 megawatts of electricity and support for local agricultural and economic systems.

Hayden’s impressions of Israel’s solar development were gleaned from a one-week trip earlier this year, and he clearly spells out in his statements the successes Israel — as consumer and producer — has had with solar power.

David Ben Gurion, the first prophet of solar energy, realized Israel-lacked fossil fuels and encouraged government support for Israeli scientists to develop the nation’s solar power potential,” Hayden noted. “Israel is the most colorized nation on earth, and thus has a new energy role in the world.

“However, like most highly industrialized nations today, Israel has a huge dependency on oil. It’s hard to fight land or rocket wars with solar power, “he added, calling for a closer sensitivity and alternative approach to the relationships of energy, economic development and peace.

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