The Importance of Israeli DeserTech

Nicole Hod Stroh
Merage Foundation

If you don’t go to the desert, the desert may soon come to you. Each year, the equivalent of tens of thousands of football fields of fertile soil turn to dust due to soil degradation. Many other areas of the world’s landmass are experiencing desert-like symptoms such as sandstorms and extreme heat.

This fascinating podcast discusses issues such as:

  • Why is it important that Israel more fully develop the Negev? How is Israel more fully developing the Negev?
  • How can problems with deserts lead to problems elsewhere?
  • What technologies are Israeli companies offering with respect to extreme climates? Water scarcity? Land degradation? Remote living?
  • How portable is the technology that is being developed in the Negev to other deserts?
  • What is being done to introduce Israeli Desertech to other parts of the world?
  • Can Israeli DeserTech companies access funding offered by international or European development funding sources?

Among the intriguing companies mentioned during this podcast are Asterra, Salicrop, Solcold, Dots and Soled.

Nicole Hod Stroh, Executive Director, Merage Foundation

Nicole Hod Stroh is the Executive Director at Merage Foundation. A native of Colombia, Nicole’s career includes high-level positions in international development, non-profit management and venture philanthropy spanning the United States, Latin America and Israel.







Merage Foundation


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00:00:59 – Most of the Spanish speaking Jews in Israel are from Argentina.

So Israelis always think they hear me speaking Spanish. They always assume I’m Argentinian, even though our accents are very, very different. And the reason is because most of the Spanish speaking Jews in Israel are from Argentina.

That’s the largest and I guess it’s the largest community anyway in Latin America. But there’s really Jews from all over Latin America. And we really get together. Venezuelans, Bolivians, peruvians.

Costa Ricans. Panamanians. We also have our own macabre games in Latin America and within Colombia. So that’s when a lot of young people get together. And because these countries have so much in common culturally, it was always kind of an extension of their own inner communities.

And most of them are concentrated in the Rana Karstaba area. That’s where you can see most of the Spanish speakers. Now we have also rising Brazilian community, but they speak Portuguese, so it’s a little bit different.

00:09:48 – The Merage Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation

The Merage Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation established by David and Laura Mirage. David and Laura came from Iran. They moved to the United States. And David and his brother Paul became big business people. They started a food factory called Chef America. They sold to Nestle in early two thousand s, the Hot Pocket. It’s pretty known in the States. And David, since they both became big philanthropists, also in the United States and also in Israel.

The foundation in Israel, which is what I’m in charge of, really has a wide spectrum of activities. We are what we call an operating foundation, a catalytic foundation in a way that we’re not only giving away grants, but we really take upon ourselves strategic issues long term. And we try to see how our foundation can really ignite processes, bring in other partners, and try to create that snowball effect.

And I think that the power of philanthropy in that sense in Israel is very significant because we have a very strong convening power. We know how to bring NGOs, we know how to bring government, we know how to bring the private sector. Everyone understands that our mission is only impact related.

00:28:23 – We’re already one of the most concentrated countries in the world.

It’s probably true, but what’s sad is that, like I said, only 10% of Israelis are in the negative. So we’re already one of the most concentrated countries in the world.

And what we’re trying really to say to the young people, especially we saw in covet the advantages that we have with, like, remote work or reducing commute, a lot of that density from the center could really move to the negative.

And how can we make beer? Chevy, which is the capital city of the Negative, a real metropolis that around it you’ll have more and more people leaving talent, young, productive, educated people moving to the negative as well.

00:34:47 – How can the local community embrace all these people coming in to make sure that they feel at home?

The game changer is the fact that after many decades of talk, the idea has finally been able to move, or it’s in the process to approve the moving of its elite unit, the ticks of the communications and the intelligence to the Negative. And that’s a game changer in all levels also because there are thousands of people moving there, or at least soldiers, but most importantly because you have all these talents moving there.

And so one of the things we’re trying to see, how do we capitalize on this and make sure that these talents can support the community, the local community, and the other way around, how can the local community embrace all these people coming in to make sure that they feel at home, that they stay, that they’re set routes and build their lives there?

This is probably the most significant bold move by the government. I’ll have to say that before that not enough has been done. It’s been done, but on different government ministries, there hasn’t been enough top bottom organized effort to strengthen the negative. But definitely this idea move is a game changer.

00:40:16 – We’re a Western country with top infrastructure, education, health services…

they say that the UN says that by 2025, which is around the corner, 1.8 billion people will experience absolute water scarcity. They say it’s about 2000 football fields per hour of fertile soil turning into dust because of soil degradation.

So that’s the first problem. And the second problem is areas that are not deserted, that are not arid, but that are experiencing desert like symptoms, like 40 degrees, like we saw in London or in Canada.

And these are communities, these are countries that have never their infrastructure is not ready for that. They don’t have air conditioning.

So a lot of the desert adaptation that the negative has to offer, because we’re a Western country with top infrastructure, education, health services, and we’ve lived in the desert for millennia, we can teach some of these other countries that are only now starting to deal with these problems, how to adapt better to those new to climate change, in a way.

00:48:46 –  It won’t include all the microclimates of all the deserts in the world, but companies could come to the negative.

So what our solutions can offer are not only for deserts. It could also offer to markets in the US. Or other countries. Like I can mention, and once I give you some examples, just even infrastructure, certain materials that reduce temperature in the surface, for example, a car, you can put a surface on top of it that reduces the temperature. That’s something you can use in global markets. But it’s inspired by the desert, and that’s why it’s still deserted. So the market could be worldwide.

But in terms of the differences in terms of desert, in terms of deserts, one of the advantages of the negative is that you also have a lot of microclimates. So probably it won’t include all the microclimates of all the deserts in the world, but companies could come to the negative, which is a friendly desert in the sense that you have access to infrastructure.

R Amp D Health Services 1 Hour Drive From the Airport international Airport so you have a very friendly desert with many microclimates where you can test your technology and then you can bring it to other deserts around the world. So it’s kind of like a soft landing to other deserts.


1) Enhanced Negotiating Strategies: This two-day seminar discusses the most intense negotiating strategies and tactics allowed without violating your ethics or morals

2) Valuation of Emerging Technologies: This seminar provides an in-depth review of more than 20 Valuation Methodologies

3) Solution Nation – The Book: Learn how the world’s most disadvantaged and destitute people stand to benefit from Israeli ingenuity.