Garrett Honors 60th Anniversary of the Founding of Israel...Recognizes Strong Friendship with the United States
U.S. Representative Scott Garrett (NJ-5), made the following statement in response to H ConRes 322 the resolution which recognizes the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the modern State of Israel and reaffirming the bonds of close friendship and cooperation between the United States and Israel:
"Today, I stand to honor an ally who is standing with us in the Global War on Terrorism. An ally who knows what it is like to fight for peace and that continues to pursue liberty even amid increased threats. That ally is Israel.
"Less than ten decades ago, Israel was one of the most violent spots on the planet as various governments sought to destroy the fledgling democracy. Today, just sixty years after its establishment, Israel has prospered and contributed to the economic, scientific, medical, and agricultural success of nations both in the Middle East and around the world.
"I believe that today the people of Israel should be recognized for their achievements in one particular area: agriculture. Israel is 60 percent desert, yet scientists have found innovative farming methods that have allowed the desert to bloom. Not only has Israel shared its new-found knowledge with the United States, but they have also shared techniques with other nations, which contain desert regions.
"The world's first surface drip irrigation system was developed on a Kibbutz near Beersheba in the 1960s after an Israeli water engineer noticed a hedge with one noticeably healthier and taller shrub. The man, Simcha Blass, used his discovery to create an irrigation device that uses friction and water pressure loss to leak drops of water at regular intervals. Today, fruit and vegetable growers in many dry areas use the drip irrigation method.
"In addition, scientists in Israel have developed genetically modified, disease-resistant bananas, peppers, and other crops. These fruits and vegetables help expand the world's food supply and maintain low prices at grocery stores across the globe.
"Since the 1970s, Israel has partnered with the U.S. in several joint scientific initiatives, including the Bi-national Agricultural Research and Development fund (BARD). This group focuses on enhancing agricultural productivity.
"Israel has also pioneered advances in desalination. Eilat, an arid city located near the intersection of the desert and the Red Sea, used to be a barren settlement due to shortages in the water supply. Visitors had to bring their own water and wash their laundry in a bucket. Today, residents own swimming pools, plant flower gardens, and relax in shaded, grassy yards. Due to desalination, the city is self-sufficient in maintaining its water supply.
"Desalination, which turns seawater into fresh water by separating salty compounds from pure water molecules, is now being considered by lawmakers in southern states like Georgia, Texas, and Florida. According to the International Desalination Association, desalinated water makes up more than half of the freshwater used in the Middle East and North Africa.
"Clearly, Israel has demonstrated expertise in agricultural innovation. As a representative of the New Jersey's Fifth District, which is home to many small farms, I appreciate Israel's agricultural developments and its willingness to disseminate research across international boundaries.
"During my time in Congress I have been fortunate to have so many Jewish friends. Friends who understand the importance of freedom. For free markets and freedom of thought can produce pioneering advances not only in agriculture, but also in other important cultural institutions.
"I salute Israel's achievements; I thank that nation for making the United States a better country; and I encourage my Jewish constituents to continue making the communities around you a better place."