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Israel Independence Day Ceremony in Jerusalem Highlights Issue of Water

JNF-KKL Representatives Selected to Light Torches on Mt. Herzl

Contact: Ariel Vered • JNF Communications Manager • 212-879-9305 ext. 227 •

April 23, 2012New York, NY – On the 64th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel, the theme of the annual Independence Day ceremony on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem will be Water: The Source of Life, highlighting the critical issue of water in Israeli society. Representatives from Jewish National Fund (JNF)Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL) who have made an impact on Israel’s water economy have been chosen to light torches at the Independence Day ceremony, which will take place this Wednesday, April 25.

A semi-arid country with few natural sources of water, Israel constantly grapples with a shortage of freshwater, a problem that has been exacerbated over the past decade by an unprecedented series of drought years and increased consumption due to population growth.

JNF-KKL has been at the forefront of water management issues in Israel since the 1980s. In honor of this connection, Moshe Cohen, director of JNF-KKL’s project development division and a water resource expert, was one of the 12 people chosen to light a torch at the ceremony.

“Water has been a priority at JNF-KKL for many years and we are honored to be a part of the Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration,” said Zevi Kahanov, JNF-KKL Chief Israel Emissary in the U.S. and National Director of the JNF Parsons Water Fund, which supports a variety of water projects in Israel that focus on recycling, developing alternative water sources, education, stream and aquifer restoration, and research.

Throughout his 30-year tenure at JNF-KKL, Cohen has overseen the construction of more than 220 water reservoirs across Israel, which hold flood runoff and treated wastewater for agricultural use. These reservoirs supply half of the water used for agriculture in Israel and have increased the total amount of available water in the country by 12%. Cohen has made JNF-KKL a main player in handling stream drainage and preventing flood damage in Israel, and has led numerous restoration projects of polluted rivers. In addition, he oversaw the construction of Israel’s first biofilter plant, which captures and purifies urban runoff for reuse and saves water that would otherwise be channeled into the sea and wasted.

Also lighting a torch will be Ruvik Danilovich, mayor of Be’er Sheva, a vital partner in two JNF-KKL projects that involve water: the Be’er Sheva River Park, a 1,300 acre park and urban renewal project along the recently rehabilitated Be’er Sheva riverbed, and Abraham’s Well, a restoration of the historical site where, according to tradition, the patriarch Abraham dug a well.

Giora Shacham, a former JNF-KKL employee who spearheaded the 1995 reflooding of the Hula Valley, will light a torch as well.

To interview Moshe Cohen, contact Ariel Vered at or 212-879-9305 ext. 227.  Video footage of the torch lighting ceremony will be available upon request. 

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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.

JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.

JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.

For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit


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