Israel, Justice, Politics

Good green news from the World Zionist Congress

There’s a tiny little party in the WZO called the Green Zionist Alliance. I gather that their rather niche platform allows them to get a lot done because no one is opposed to it enough to, say, storm the podium singing Hatikvah and stalling all of the WZC’s business for a full day.
And because they cause no podium-storming, they get to pass cool resolutions like these:

Saving water and energy
Given the limited water and energy resources of Israel, this resolution calls for saving water and energy in Israel by calling on KKL-JNF, the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and the Jewish Agency For Israel (JAFI) to:

  • Transition to energy-efficient lighting in their offices and fuel-efficient vehicles;
  • Install energy-generating solar panels and rainwater-savings systems on the rooftops of their buildings.

Abating climate change
This resolution deals with issues that can help abate climate change through action in Israel, such as by requiring the Congress itself and the travel of its participants to be carbon offset through carbon-mitigating projects in Israel.
Integrating immigrants into Israeli society
This resolution calls for JAFI to incorporate environmental education as part of the immigrant experience.
Food justice
This resolution aims to attempt to better influence Israeli society and make the Congress an exemplar event through its food procurement.

I like this because these are just plain good things. No one loses, everybody wins. There’s no political reason to oppose these things. They’re just good. And news that’s just good is in short supply when it comes to Israel. So yeah. Good news.

4 thoughts on “Good green news from the World Zionist Congress

  1. A little perspective: As I understand it, the World Zionist Organization is the parent body for KKL-JNF, and the greening of Israel has been central to its mission from the days it stopped just buying land but added planting trees on that land. Sensitivity to the environment, and programming regarding that sensitivity, remains a top KKL-JNF priority — so with all due respect to the “GreenZ”, passing their resolution was more of a no-brainer than of a coup.
    Meanwhile, the storming of the podium came at the end of the day, so it stalled the business of the Congress only for about 15 minutes, including the responses to it that Susskind mentions. As a first-time delegate, I had been warned to expect such outbursts, and must admit that I was pleased to experience one, especially since it symbolized the failure of the “bad guys” to carry the day, on any of their prime issues.
    It also set the stage for the response Susskind refers to from the two Australian teens, one from Habonim-Dror (Labor/left) and the other from B’nai Akiva (MO), calling for shevet achim gam yachad. The most important part of their litany was that it main-staged the commitment of the WZO to raise up a new generation of Zionist leadership by requiring a certain percentage of each delegation to be under thirty.

  2. KKL commitment to reforestation shouldn’t be described as ‘environmental’. That’s a-historic.
    Reforestation was motivated by the need to occupy lands where Palestinians lived and farmed. Trees planted were often inappropriate and killed off other flora. Jobs were needed quickly, and reforestation became an easy, labor intensive make work project.
    That doesn’t mean more trees are all bad. But today’s environmental label suggests motives and ideas wholly absent in the old school tree planting efforts.
    What I wonder about is the clash between the idealistic energy of the green Z’s and the Israeli mental habit of dismissing anything seen as ‘yefeh nefesh’. (A way of saying – your idea sounds so nice and pleasant but the real world that matters spits on it and on you for suggesting it.)
    Idealism, the attitude that prompts trust in the universe and ethical behavior for its own sake, has been utterly superseded by cynicism in the Israeli political world.

  3. Jews are deeply concerned about the well-being of Israel and wish her to be secure and prosperous. But what about security, wealth, and comfort of another kind — the quality of Israel’s air, water, and ecosystems? What about the physical condition of the eternal, holy Land? While seldom on the agenda, environmental dangers and degradations have become increasingly serious issues that will affect Israel’s future.
    Along with its splendid achievements in many areas, Israel faces severe environmental problems. Its rivers are badly polluted. The air is so dirty that far more people die from it annually than from terrorism and traffic accidents combined. And about 20 percent of Israeli children have significant respiratory problems.
    Israel is especially threatened by climate change. it is now facing the worst drought in its history, with below average rainfall for each of the past six years. In 2007 the Israel Union for Environmental Defense projected that, if present trends continue, global warming will produce many critical problems, including major heat waves, a decrease in rainfall of 20 – 30 percent, increased desertification and a flooding of the coastal plain where most Israelis live by a rising Mediterranean Sea.
    I am proud to have been a delegate of the Green Zionist Alliance to the World Jewish Congress to held in Jerusalem on June 15 – 17. I hope that the passage of the GZA environmental resolutions will provide momentum so that there will be a major effort to help shift an environmentally-imperiled Israel to a sustainable path.

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