Earlier that day, the delegation visited the scenic Hagoshrim Reservoir
overlooking the Naftali Hills
near Kiryat Shmona, which was established by KKL-JNF friends
of Scandinavia including KKL Finland. The Head of the Sewage Department at the Upper Galilee Regional Council, Amatzia Shlomi
, told them that all the water in the huge man-made lake is derived from treated sewage and that there are 15 such facilities under his charge.
“Our responsibility is not only to collect sewage and deliver it to a place where it will not present a danger and health hazard, but also to turn the fluid into safe water for agricultural use according to health ministry regulations. Today, between 60-80 percent of agricultural irrigation in Israel comes from treated effluent”
Water specialist Avri Kadmon
, who also came to meet the Finnish group, explained that Israel’s severe fresh water shortage pushed the country to find innovative, healthy and hygienic methods to recycle water for agriculture, in order to leave more fresh water for human consumption.
“In Israel, drinking water is never derived from treated water. The country receives some 1.6 billion cubic meters of water per year from natural sources, but the economy utilizes between 2.1 to 2.4 billion cubes per year and that figure is on the rise. The difference is made up by way of desalination, filtered city runoff and treated sewage.”
Finnish Landscape architect Laura Suomi
was particularly interested in the design of the various pools. She said that this was her second trip to Israel with KKL Finland, and that besides being a staunch supporter of the Jewish State, she also enjoyed what she called: “The strong culture of landscape design and planning that is evident everywhere in this country”
A vegetarian lunch with wine tasting was served at the Dalton Winery near Safed. Prior to the meal, Dalton Winery Hostess Leora Ben Arush
led the group through the facility while showing and explaining how the wine is produced. She said that the location of the winery was a great advantage.
“The plateau where our grapes are planted is 800 - 900 feet above sea level. This high altitude, combined with optimum soil conditions and a cool climate (including a cold winter to give the vines a dormant period) provide the ideal conditions for growing grapes that are suitable for fine wine-making.”
In the large storeroom that housed the gigantic vats and casks where the wine is fermented, the group met Haim Abergil
, who is the company’s Kashrut Supervisor. His job is to ensure s that the wine produced is suitable for observant Jews. He explained what differentiates kosher wine from all other wines.
“The principles of making kosher wine are the same as for non-Kosher wine. However to be considered kosher, Sabbath-observant Jews must supervise and handle the entire winemaking process, from the time the grapes are crushed until the wine is bottled and all other ingredients used must be kosher.”
Mission participants, Juhani and Terttu Starczewski
are both active veteran fund-raisers for KKL-JNF and have been to Israel six times together. Juhani said that his Polish surname comes from his grandfather who, before settling in Finland as a discharged Russian soldier, was a resident of the Polish town of Lonza, which had been 50% Jewish before the war.
“Today I am a Christian but I may have Jewish ancestors. In fact, there were 40 people from Lonza with my surname who were killed in Auschwitz.”