Interview with Mr Elazar Cohen, Commissioner General

In a leading position in the field of agriculture technologies, Israel also exports many fresh products and is almost self-sufficient in terms of food. The country is able to face the challenges of its climates and soil, thanks to its expertise and advanced technologies. Its participation in EXPO Milan 2015 is an opportunity to share its know-how and its technologies with other participants and with the visitors. At Expo Israel goes on show with an exhibition featuring a vertical living field 70 m long and 12 m high. A stunning architecture introduces to a wider message: "Even if we are too little to physically feed the planet, we show at Expo our commitment to share the know-how and the fruits of technological innovation for a better future".

1. The theme of the Pavilion of Israel is "Fields of Tomorrow" Could you explain why you chose this theme? What are the messages behind?

Since it is my first experience as Commissioner General of Section, we carefully studied the "Guide of the Theme" provided by the Organisers before defining our exhibition and proposing it to our Government.

The main issue "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life" suits Israel perfectly. Indeed, the condition of limited resources in terms of water and soils constitutes a true challenge for our agriculture and economy.

When we selected the theme "Fields of Tomorrow" for our pavilion, we first focused on the content rather than on the architecture. That's why the message of the pavilion sends out a coloured message (like our logo) that presents a country that managed overtaking challenges. We have decided to present our theme through the storytelling of farmers' family, talking to all the visitors and introducing their life, their development and their achievements. "Fields of Tomorrow" is for us not just a motto but a real value and a constant challenge: Israel technologies and science research must be able provide a better future for the generations to come, to every kid in the planet and their hopes.

2. The theme deals with sustainable development. Could you please elaborate on this and present the sustainable features of your pavilion (in terms of construction, presentation and display)?

Israel combines millenary traditions and the most advanced technologies. Sustainable development is, indeed, an essential part of our overall concept. Our pavilion meets the highest standards in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and it has been conceived to reflect the theme and the agriculture of Israel. This explains why the main structure is a field. On top of that we created an architecture that is completely recyclable, sustainable and responsible.

As to the theme development, we have based our concept on ancestral irrigation systems that saves the waste of water and decrease the emission of pollution.
We have developed our presentation on the development of agriculture in our country that combines cutting-edge technologies and traditional know-how.

Cutting edge technologies like the latest methods of computerised drip irrigation systems allow also to reflect for a greener future. Imagine a future city where crops grow on buildings...

3. What image of Israel would you wish that the visitors kept when they finish visiting your pavilion?

We wish the visitors to discover the different faces and different ambiances of our country. We present them a country uniting innovation and tradition, a country that could inspire them. We want to touch people's heart and raise their interest and curiosity. We want them to leave our pavilion with positive feelings. We have made the strategic decision to present our concept in two rooms and using visual presentations so the visitors can perceive and receive clearly the messages.

4. What are your first impressions and conclusions after these 45 first days of Expo 2015?

We are receiving positive feedback, great interest by italian and international media. The number of visitors is high many of them choose the vertical field as the background for their Expo selfie as well. We have designed our pavilion and our presence at EXPO Milan 2015, so as to be able to enhance our bilateral relations with Italy and other countries as well as our business relationships. Therefore, we organise seminars, meetings around the theme of the Expo and of our pavilion to further develop cooperation.

We are happy that visitors are inspired by our pavilion. The celebration of our National Day was a success shared at various levels. On top of that Israel pavilion hosts a rich calendar of events, talks, concerts and exhibitions, but also competitions, readings and events with israeli artists, professionals, innovators and designers.

We look forward continuing receiving visitors until October 31, 2015 at the Expo 2015 and then in Israel.

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