JERUSALEM, Israel -- The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Deputy Secretary-General Rintaro Tamaki praised Israeli efforts to improve its environmental protection programs.
In a meeting Monday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Environmental Minister Gilad Erdan to assess progress in environmental issues, Tamaki praised the Jewish state's "exceptional work."
"The government of Israel is doing exceptional work and is investing considerable resources in socio-economic development while reducing harm to the environment and efficiently using natural resources," Tamaki said.
"Thus, for example, the scope of use of desalinated water in Israel is among the highest in the world -- 42 percent of water consumption -- and Israel's desalination facilities are among the most energy efficient," he added.
Netanyahu said a "genuine revolution" is taking place in the nation's "green growth," meaning projects that promote socio-economic growth while protecting the environment.
The prime minister said "preserving and advancing the environment need not come at the expense of economic development."
"The opposite is true," Netanyahu said. "Joining an advanced economy with the environment leads to new and clean industries and new grown engines."
At Monday's meeting, topics included Israel's oil alternatives project to develop alternative and renewable energy sources; curbing ground pollution and rehabilitating polluted rivers; linking up Haifa to the natural gas pipeline, significantly reducing air pollution in the north; and developing environmental friendly public transportation, such as the national rail system.