Why I’m Going Green

Haim Watzman For years I have preached against small parties. Whenever my friends get excited by the latest new and fashionable political movement or the latest political star whose ego-trip involves founding and leading his own party, I’ve warned that a vote cast for a small party is both wasted and wanting. Wasted because, in … Read more

You Mean Environmentalists Aren’t Zionists?

Haim Watzman

Tomorrow Israel’s National Planning and Construction Board will take up a proposal to establish a new settlement in the eastern Lachish salient, southwest of Jerusalem. An ad in today’s Ha’aretz, placed by twelve of Israel’s most senior environmentalists, calls on the Board to reject the plan.

“The establishment of the settlement will lead, in the opinion of all environmentalists, to the destruction of habitats and irreversible harm to open spaces. Approval of the settlement in opposition to all environmental impact statements will make a laughingstock of national planning policy, which places great importance on the reinforcement of existing settlements and the preservation of open spaces.”

The environmentalists have everything going for them—science, research, policy imperatives—except for one thing. Apparently, they’re not Zionists.

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More on Why Israel is Losing Its Green Spaces

Haim Watzman

While Israel’s environmentalists have successfully pushed through the establishment of a number of national parks in recent years, they’ve been less successful at protecting green spaces that aren’t parks. Yet the preservation of pristine areas between urban areas is vital if Israel’s landscape and wildlife are to survive. In today’s Ha’aretz (Hebrew edition), Tzafrir Rinat reports on how these areas are being encroached on by settlements and farms, and cut in pieces by new roadways. He writes:

Last month the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel published a report on the threat to open spaces in Israel. The report lists 60 building and development plans that will damage open spaces. Among the most prominent are new roads in the Sharon and Modi’in areas, construction in the Ramon Crater, and the mining of phosphates in the Negev.

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Why Israel is Losing Its Green Spaces: The Pointed-Roof Hypothesis

A phone company commercial currently appearing incessantly on Israel’s channel 2 depicts a somewhat thickset, balding man in his fifties sitting in an armchair watching television. The television is situated in a family room and in the background of this open-plan ground floor you can see a large kitchen and living room. The man’s teenage son bounds down the stairs in shorts and a sleeveless sweatshirt, fake-tosses a basketball to his father, and heads out the door.

What’s wrong with this picture? And what does it have to do with the destruction of Israel’s countryside?

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