In a first, Israeli scientist speaks at Cuban environmental conference


RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — An Israeli scientist from the Jewish National Fund presented at an international conference in Cuba in what the organization called a first for an Israeli scientist.

Doron Markel, JNF’s chief scientist, participated in Cubambiente, a five-day conference held last week in Havan run by the Latin American nation’s environmental agency and Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Cuba and Israel have not had official diplomatic relations since 1973.

According to Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund, the fund’s official name in Israel, this was the first time an Israeli scientist has been invited to present in such a situation, participating alongside 30 other countries at the 12th international environment conference.

“Science can serve as a bridge. While it is known that our states don’t have a formal relationship, scientists can collaborate, and it can be a starting point,” Markel told the English-language Israeli newspaper.

The event gathered researchers, authorities, educators and specialists who dealt with issues surrounding the environment and climate change in order to encourage cooperation among countries and the exchange of knowledge and sustainable practices, as well as present opportunities for economic growth and environmental protection.

Markel spoke about developments in forestation and large water project tools to adapt to the effects of climate change in Israel and the rest of the Middle East.

Cuba is home to some 1,500 Jews. With the 1959 revolution, an estimated 15,000 Jews who lived in the country left for the United States and Israel.

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