Last Thursday, Bolivia's foreign minister, Karen Longrich, announced the resumption of diplomatic relations with Israel, a decade after then-President Abu Morales cut off relations with Jerusalem due to Operation Cast Lead. The resumption of relations was made possible after Morales, who was hostile to Israel and the US, resigned about a month ago, and his administration was replaced by a pro-American transition government.
This may be a specific event, but there is reason to suppose that it is not detached from a gradual trend of approaching Israel by elements that have so far maintained or removed it. About two weeks ago, for example, intellectuals from around the Arab world gathered to promote a relationship with Israel and even put an end to the boycott and BDS campaign. Notable was the presence of the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's nephews. The aforementioned convergence, together with the declaration by Bolivia's foreign minister, indicates a spirit of turnaround in relation to Israel.
So why does Bolivia announce the renewal of diplomatic relations with Israel? First - the religious connection. More than 2 million evangelical Christians live in Bolivia, which is about 19 percent of the population. This is a religious stream that is favorable to Israel, and its leaders in other countries are interested in strengthening ties with its government. Tourism revenue also has a bearing on policy change. Foreign Minister Longrich hinted at considerable economic consequences due to the decline in the number of Israeli tourists. Although Israelis constitute only three percent of the country's visitors, the economic loss due to severing ties with Israel is estimated at about $ 50 million a year.
And finally, a water crisis in Bolivia also has its share of the turnaround. Water sources in the South American state are dehydrated as a result of the combined effect of melting Andean glaciers, in the form and mismanagement of the water sector. Bolivia, like other countries in the world (California, for example), is likely considering importing Israeli technology to solve the water crisis. Israel is at the forefront of developing technological solutions to save water and utilize water resources to produce drinking water. While Israel specializes in setting up desalination plants throughout the state, this solution may not be economical due to Bolivia's distance from the sea. A more suitable solution to Bolivia's geographical location can come from a world-renowned Israeli company that has developed economical and accessible solutions for producing clean air from drinking water (salinity only).
Quite a few other countries are "thirsty" for Israel's technological solutions. More and more countries are realizing its technological power, and the desire to renew ties with it and to lead economic and scientific collaborations may be the key to breaking the anti-Israeli bloc.
Dr. Willie Abraham is a lecturer in the Department of Technology Marketing at Sapir CollegeFor more opinions of Willie Abraham