editor’s note: The 2022–2023 Annual Report covers the period both before and after October 7. The report introduction comments, “For all of us the world that we were working toward changed on
October 7th. The horror of the Hamas attack and the realities of war emphasize the importance of the Arava Institute as a beacon of hope and endurance. Our students and faculty continue to learn together at the Institute. Now we are turning our attention to the day after. How will the unique capacities and relationships of the Arava Institute help build a future of shared society and hope? How can our experience in civil discourse and compassionate listening be a model for people at universities in the US?”

Excerpts below. The full report in pdf may be found at


Over 90 students from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and countries in Africa, Asia, North and South America learned skills in classes such as Global Resource Geopolitics and Environmental Policy while living together and participating in cross-cultural dialogue.

Our bilateral cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Civil Administration resulted in approval for a 30-kilometer trunkline to carry recycled water for agriculture to Palestinian farmers in the Jordan Valley.

With the Institute’s accreditation to the United Nations Environment Assembly, we are increasing our participation in UN-sponsored conferences and projects. In 2022, the institute presented on climate diplomacy at the Stockholm+50 Conference, a UN meeting commemorating the 50 years since the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment.

In November at the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP 27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, our team of Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians amplified the Institute’s important transboundary work and expanded our international partnerships to confront the climate crisis regionally. Every panel addressed not only the urgency to act to build climate resiliency—but also the need to act regionally—a strategy that we have been implementing for more than twenty-five years. The conference included panels hosted by the Institute and partners, including the first panel in the Israeli pavilion that included an Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian presenting together.

The Arava Institute presented at the United Nations Headquarters for the UN Water Conference in March 2023. Dr. David Lehrer’s panel “A New Era in Water Intelligence Driving Collective Action” was one of 200 side events selected from over 1,300 applicants and the only from an Israeli nonprofit.

The Center for Climate Change Policy and Research

Addressing a strategic priority of the Institute’s,
the Center will harness the Institute’s deep regional partnerships with academic, policy, and nongovernmental institutions to work on the effects of climate change on Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, and others throughout the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

Applied Environmental Diplomacy

Water remains one of the scarcest resources in the Middle East, a challenge exacerbated by climate-induced desertification. Recycled water treatment technology can provide solutions to communities that are most at-risk.

Al-Bireh Wastewater Treatment System | In August 2022, the Arava Institute and our Palestinian civil society partner, Damour for Community Development, announced success in facilitating a groundbreaking agreement for a pipeline that will bring recycled water from al-Bireh (near Ramallah) to Palestinian farmers in the Jordan Valley. This project unfolded over four years of quiet applied environmental diplomacy and involved Palestinian engineers who designed plans for the trunkline. The resulting approval from the Israeli Civil Administration allows the Palestinian Water Authority to obtain funding to build a 30-kilometer trunkline that will carry between 2.5–3.5 MCM of much-needed high-quality agricultural water to the farmers. For decades the wastewater treatment plant in al-Bireh has poured 7,000–8,000 CM daily of high-quality treated water into a nearby wadi where it is mixing with raw sewage and polluting the groundwater. 

Making Clean Drinking Water Accessible | 95% of Gaza’s drinking water supply is undrinkable. To address this, the Arava Institute partnered with private Israeli company Watergen, the Israeli Civil Administration, the Palestinian NGO Damour for Community Development, as well as local municipalities to introduce atmospheric water generators (AWG) to create clean drinking water by capturing humidity, condensing it, and then filtering it instantly drinkable water. The AWGs can produce 900 liters of drinking water per day, depending on the air’s humidity. In early 2023, five systems were introduced into local municipal health care centers in Gaza but some have been impacted by the war.

Climate Innovations

Agrivoltaics | The Middle East is enduring rising temperatures and severe drought as the climate crisis continues to destabilize an already fragile region. To respond, the Institute is piloting innovative farming methods to support a sustainable future for agricultural communities in the hyper-arid region. 

Treating Water for Agricultural Irrigation | Agricultural communities
in the Jordan Valley suffer from a lack of water treatment facilities. The Institute has continued to implement off-grid wastewater treatment and reuse solutions for small Bedouin and Palestinian agricultural communities that treat the sewage water using biological processes and off-grid solar photovoltaic solutions for the energy needs of groundwater pumping. These vertical green wall bio-filtration systems take gray and black water from homes and treat the sewage water.

Climate Research

Biodiversity | Integral to work to address climate change are environmentally friendly pesticides to support crop growth.

Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation | Executive Director Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed and researcher József Kádár were part of a task force that compiled a 2022 report on energy systems after reviewing socioeconomic and technological trends in energy systems of the region. The report emphasizes that regional cooperation is essential for managing limited natural resources and provides a policy toolkit for decarbonizing energy systems. 

Faculty members and research staff presented at 31 conferences and seminars and published 10 articles and book chapters in 2022.

Highlights include:

  • Wind and Wings | In November 2022, the Arava Institute and the Renewables Grid Initiative co-hosted Wind and Wings, a seminar on the challenge of ensuring bird protection near onshore wind farms, a challenge made particularly difficult given the quantity and diversity of birds that migrate through Israel as part of their annual migration patterns.
  • Rural electrification | Faculty member and researcher Dr. Miri Lavi-Neeman and Institute alumni partnered with Comet-ME, an organization that provides green energy and clean water services to Palestinian communities, to conduct a study on the impact of rural electrification in off-grid communities in the West Bank. Focusing on a Bedouin community northeast of Ramallah, which recently installed several renewable energy systems, the July 2022 report shares howthe introduction of these systems supports economic development, increased literacy, more stable public health, and improved living conditions.

There are now over 1,800 alumni worldwide. During a February 2022 alumni workday at a long-term village project in the West Bank, 50 alumni participated in a composting workshop and created a community garden, set up a water purification system, pulled weeds, and cleared stones to help create sustainable systems for the local community. In August 2022, the Alumni Conference brought together a constellation of over 100 alumni that included ecologists, entrepreneurs, yogis, engineers, activists, lawyers, and educators.


In Israel and as friends of the Institute we face a difficult time—emotionally, physically, and intellectually. But we remain steadfast to our principles—to embrace the possibility
of dialogue and cooperation and to work across borders to address the growing threats of climate change.