Photos: Cheryl Friedlander
The first stop was Mekorot Eshkol, where our group of 35 enjoyed a number of audiovisual presentations explaining how Israel's precious, albeit scarce, water resource is collected and distributed. Already a world leader in terms of the lowest percentage of water lost through wastage, we learnt that Israel is also at the forefront of water management. Water supplies routinely exceed international standards for cleanliness and purity and Israel's hugely successful and innovative approach to desalinization, which currently provides some 85% of Israel's water, will eventually be responsible for it all.
Liquid, albeit in a very different form, was also a feature, at the next stop of the day, to the Morad Winery, in the Yokneam Technological Park. An industrial park is hardly the setting for Israel's prolific vineyards, but then Morad is very different from the majority of Israel's other wineries. Some 90 per cent are in the business of producing wine from grapes, but not at Morad. Here, the basis of their delicious wines and liqueurs is from other fruits rather than grapes. Melon, passion fruit, kiwi and apple were just some of the samples we tried, much enjoyed and enthusiastically purchased. A huge variety of sizes and combinations was on offer including liqueurs such as chocolate and coffee. It was an even more congenial and cheerful group who continued on their way.
After a hasty lunch, the final stop continued the water theme, but in relation to marine life and the environment. We were at the Ruppin Academic Center, previously known as the Michmoret Ruppin Marine Center. Familiar to many in ESRA because of its innovative two year course for young people of high potential from Netanya, Ruppin is the center in educational enrichment in biology, physics, chemistry, marine science and ecology along with life skills and leadership training. Dr Rami Klein, a specialist in marine biology and a renowned underwater photographer, proved to be one of those special educators, who can both inform and communicate. His passion and excitement for life within and beneath the sea had us all entranced. Through his slides we were transported to a diverse brightly colored world of fish, mammals and plants, all within the vicinity of Eilat. A rapid tour of some of the laboratories culminated in a magical sunset over the sea, the source of so much that is essential to our lives and well-being.
As we travelled back to Modiin, the unanimous feeling was that our day had been really worthwhile, both extremely enjoyable and richly informative.