Tue, 30 Nov 2021

by Nick Kolyohin

JERUSALEM, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Israel's Muni Expo 2021 highlighted how cities deal with national and international issues and the importance of local government in solving big problems.

Thousands of people participated in the two-day conference that started on Wednesday at Expo Tel Aviv International Convention Center.

Israel's president, prime minister, ministers and mayors take part in the event, which includes an exhibition with hundreds of companies demonstrating innovation and technology that can make cities better places.

Israel's Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said during his keynote speech in the opening session that "crises are global, but solutions are local."

"The COVID-19 pandemic reminded us that in our interconnected world, there is no such thing as just a local crisis. In the 21st century, all the crises are global," stressed Lapid.

Many Israeli mayors have found it frustrating when they are unable to make big decisions for their cities. Some have expressed publicly over the years their demand for transferring the governance power from central government to local government.

They believe that municipalities have better knowledge of their residents and the uniqueness of their cities, which is an advantage when it comes to finding the best solutions that might not suit the rest of the country.

Lapid noted that innovation, technology, fast reaction, up-to-date data, and good communication with residents are crucial to deal with future challenges.

At the exhibition area, companies and startups from different fields showcased services and products that could benefit local authorities.

One of the exhibitors was a company which produces autonomous patrol drones and anti-drone systems.

Yossi Gofer, the company's CEO, said that the anti-drone system is "one of the most important systems that a municipality can have to prevent threats against stadiums or big events of civilians."

He considers drone one of the prominent threats in the world now because it's easy to buy and operate, "they can be misused as cheap bombs."

Gofer also wants to sell to cities friendly autonomous patrol drones that he said can "replace human guarding" and "control and protect the perimeter without any human involvement."

Another company attending the exhibition focuses on organizational effectiveness and efficiency by innovative computing technology.

Lavi Miednik, the company's salesman, said that their software helps Israeli cities in many ways, such as dealing better with disasters or emergencies and even preventing them from happening in the first place.

The expo has been one of the major conferences in Israel since the COVID-19 outbreak. Only the fully vaccinated participants could enter the event without PCR tests, by presenting proofs of vaccination or recovery in the past six months.

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