The Waste Land: The Problem With Space

American suburbia is like an SUV. It’s big. It’s spacious. It can be beautiful, quiet, and well-kept up. But it’s such a waste.

Ilana and I always have opposite reactions when we visit America’s great suburbs. This last Shabbat in southern New Jersey was typical. Ilana gets dreamy about having her own lawn, house, garden–all that elbow room, all that green. And I get antsy–why should I want to live in a place where you have to drive half an hour to buy a pair of socks?

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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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