Green Zionist Alliance Passes 4 Green Resolutions at World Zionist Congress

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Photo from Earth’s Promise community garden at the Kalisher Absorption Center.

The World Zionist Organization took major steps to green Israel by approving four resolutions put forth by the Green Zionist Alliance at the World Zionist Congress. The resolutions address a wide swath of environmental concerns, including water, energy and food justice. All of the votes were near unanimous, uniting all religious and political streams of Zionism for the cause of Israel’s environment.

“The resolutions will play a major role in helping shift an environmentally imperiled Israel onto a sustainable path, and provide a greener Israel for future generations,” said Dr. Richard Schwartz, a GZA delegate to the Congress.

The resolutions call for the WZO and its subsidiaries — Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (KKL / Jewish National Fund in Israel) and the Jewish Agency For Israel (JAFI) — to install energy-generating solar panels and rainwater-savings systems on their buildings’ rooftops and to transition to energy-efficient lighting and fuel-efficient vehicles.

Additionally, JAFI is instructed to incorporate environmental education into the immigrant experience at absorption centers, and to develop community gardens at absorption centers for immigrants’ use.

“Growing food from the land is an incredibly potent way of connecting to the land,” said GZA President David Krantz, head of the GZA delegation to the Congress. “For the first time in the history of the Congress, we have brought the issue of food justice to the Zionist table.”

The resolutions will green the Congress itself by requiring the WZO to offset the carbon released into the atmosphere by the event and by the transportation of its delegates to Jerusalem. They also call for at least half of the food at the Congress to be procured from local and organic producers.

“Ensuring that we serve food that comes from locally grown and organic sources helps ensure sustainability for Israel,” said GZA delegate Aviva Melissa Frank.

The GZA resolutions were written by a team of environmentalists from Israel and North America.

“Because of the resolutions approved today, we will be helping to protect Israel’s land, water and air. This may be the best Congress for Israel’s environment since the KKL was founded in 1901,” Krantz said. “One of the resolutions declares that Jewish environmental education and support for local agriculture are globally important values within the Jewish community. It’s an amazing statement — and we’re backing it up with action.”

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2 Responses to “Green Zionist Alliance Passes 4 Green Resolutions at World Zionist Congress”

  1. Richard Schwartz Says:

    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 held in Jerusalem on June 15 – 17. I hope the GZA resolutions discussed in the article will increase the momentum to help shift an environmentally-threatened Israel to a sustainable path.

  2. Richard Schwartz Says:

    I neglected to mention in my above comment that GZA director David Krantz deserves much credit fir his leadership in getting these important resolutions passed at the World Zionist Congress.

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