U.S. Scientists Evaluate Israel As “pilot Area for Middle East”
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U.S. Scientists Evaluate Israel As “pilot Area for Middle East”

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Dr. Walter C. Lowder milk, internationally-recognized soil conservation authority, today told a two-day conference of scientists and engineers here that “Israel has become a pilot area for the entire Middle East, and for much of the less developed areas of the world.”

Addressing the session of the Conference on Science and Technology for the Peaceful Development of Israel and the Middle East, which opened at the Hotel Statler here, Dr. Lowdermilk pointed out that Israel was compelled in the past decade “to create a new and modern agriculture in a picturesque land, much of which was little more than a man-made desert.”

Dr. Lowdermilk enumerated the large-scale reclamation and conservation programs that have been undertaken in Israel. “These,” he said, “include the drainage of marshes in lowlands, drainage of water-logged soil, irrigation of dry lands, design and application of contour farming, clearing deep soils encumbered by stones, control and storage of flood waters, and improvement and production of crops and livestock.”

Dr. Philip Sporn, president of the American Electric Power Company, and one of the foremost experts on the peaceful uses of atomic energy, presented a paper entitled “Israel and the Atom. “In his report, Dr. Sporn reviewed the economic and technical problems involved in providing Israel with nuclear power, pointing out that this source of energy could be a major determinant in fructifying the arid desert in the southern half of Israel.

A paper devoted to “The Influence of Atomic Energy on the Technical Development of Israel and the Middle East” was presented by Dr. Henry J. Gomberg, of the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Project, attached to the University of Michigan.


In addition to Dr Lowdermilk, speakers in the soil conservation and water session included Jacob R. Sensibar, president of Construction Aggregates Corporation, Chicago, and Prof. Shragga Irmay, of the Division of Hydraulic Engineering of the Technion, who is now visiting in the United States on a research grant.

Mr. Sensibar, recognized as one of the world’s outstanding earth engineers, said that the planners of Israel are incorrect in believing that “substantial agricultural production in the Negev desert” can be achieved. He stressed, however, that “several varieties of cellulose plants have been found growing native in soils with large contents of salt.

“If a substantial cellulose plant production can be established in the Negev, “he asserted, “it would form the basis for a paper and synthetic textile industry. This could be a large and very important industry for Israel and an important source of foreign currency.”

Mr. Sensibar, whose company recently completed the restoration to productivity of 15, 000 acres of Israel swampland, stressed the urgent need to conserve water both in Israel proper and in all countries of the Middle East. Prof. Irmay summarized the past 10 years of hydraulic engineering research conducted in Israel, under the sponsorship of Technion, Israel’s only technological university.

David Rose, president of the American Technion Society, which sponsored the conference, voiced the hope that the parley “would link all the peoples of the Middle East in a common effort to find peace and plenty under the aegis of science and technology.”

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