• Caribbean Israel Leadership Coalition

Interview with CLC Israel Representative Maayan Navon

A Fruitful Exchange


Maayan Navon is an Israeli woman who wears many hats and some might say walks in some very big shoes. Aside from her role as the CLC Israel Representative, who has now attended two major CLC Caribbean-based conferences, she also has served in the Israel Defense Force as an Air Force Captain. However, in her role with government fund raising efforts and celebrations around Israel’s 70th anniversary – she also rubs shoulders with the likes of US Vice President, Mike Pence.


She spoke recently with me in Jerusalem about her experiences at the Israel Suriname Technology Investment Conference and her enthusiasm at the prospect of mutual benefits for both Israel and the Caribbean.


Maayan feels strongly that Israel as an innovative start-up-nation has much to offer in the areas of defense, technology, water problems and agricultural solutions. Much of what this tiny nation learned in its war-fraught beginning years and struggles was to make the “desert bloom like a rose” in fulfillment of prophecy. (Isaiah 35:1)


Now from what was once desert and swampland, Israel exports delicate roses and delicious Haifa oranges, not to mention the growing boutique wine export business. “And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.” (Isaiah 65:21)


The systems that were developed over years of experimentation can now be readily taught to others. Israeli expertise in these fields can be adapted to the land and climate of the Caribbean and also utilize the vast amounts of salt water available.


“Because of the difficulties we went through, we had to come up with creative solutions in both water and agricultural problems. We now can offer not just products, but turn-key projects, ecological systems that can be implemented in other countries.” This involves not just the purchase of products, like green houses, but the training that goes into the maintenance and the know-how to effectively manage and see growth in the agricultural sector.


In the many places that Israeli projects are initiated, it is the building together that is the key component. “As we seek holistic solutions, we look at the big picture, not just the individual project.” Maayan explained. “In that way we experience mutual benefits as we and our Caribbean partners look for solutions.”


Sometimes it is the small things that may seem insignificant, such as which direction a field might be planted. Where the sun makes its arc and how the plants are affected can be significant. All of this comes with knowledge and experience, she emphasized and this takes time to communicate, train and share.


“We like to look at long term solutions, not disposable items that serve only a short-term goal. “ Maayan joked about the Israeli love for a popular international furniture company, known for it’s blonde wood inexpensive items that the buyer assembles. However, she pointed out, they only last for a short season and one must purchase the same things again.


One then must consider waste and waste management, if things are not produced to last. Israel is just catching up with the West in terms of ecological initiatives and recycling. “We have a lot to learn from the Caribbean – even about water use and how every drop is important and should be utilized,” she added.


The Israel Suriname Technology Investment Conference further confirmed to Maayan that this coalition is on the right path. “Once you have built a bridge,” she said, it is now easy to walk over it.”


This conference had the participation of eight Israeli officials from the government and private sector and she is hoping to see that grow. Ms. Navan looks forward to engaging more with the Caribbean government and entrepreneurial partners to make this a real win-win for both sides.


Maayan is flying off to the New York to meet with a delegation including, US Vice President Mike Pence and Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon to celebrate the signing 70 Years ago on November 29th of the UN Partition Plan. Israeli delegates along with UN and US officials and leaders in the Jewish community will hold a re-enactment of the signing in the Queens, NY Museum, which hosted the UN General Assembly in 1947.


This Partition Plan for both a Jewish and Arab state marked “by a majority vote” in the UN General Assembly, was when the Jewish state was born. However, later on May 14, 1948, the first Prime Minister of Israel, Ben Gurion, announced the official declaration of statehood.


Israel’s land covenant given to Abraham was not meant to just bless Israel, but be a blessing to others. That is what the CLC Coalition is hoping to see happen today.


Jane Bakewell in Jerusalem CLC Journalist, Editor

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