WASHINGTON (JTA) — An Israeli scientist was awarded the prestigious World Food Prize, becoming the first Israeli to receive the award.
Dr. Daniel Hillel, who specializes in a new mode of bringing water to crops in arid and dry land known as micro-irrigation, was awarded the prize at the U.S. State Department on Tuesday.
The $250,000 award is given to an individual who has enhanced human development with innovative solutions to food quality. The recognition is an initiative privately sponsored by businessman and philanthropist John Ruan of Des Moines, Iowa.
During the ceremony, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Hillel “a master of applying new thinking to old problems.”
“Food security is also fundamental to human security. Food scarcity can lead to social unrest," Clinton said in her remarks, according to Haaretz. "When we strengthen food security and enhance cooperation we lay stronger base to promote human development. … It is up to up to us to save the next billion.”
In addition, Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, praised Hillel for his work for “maximizing efficient water usage in agriculture.”
“Dr. Hillel’s work and motivation has been to bridge such divisions and to promote peace and understanding in the Middle East by advancing a breakthrough achievement addressing a problem that so many countries share in common: water scarcity,” Quinn said in his remarks, according to Haaretz.