Category Archives: About your host

Israel Green Movement News Bytes

1.  The Israel Green Movement now has a LinkedIn Group and it can be found at this link.

LinkedIn is an on line network of more than 30 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 150 industries. LinkedIn groups provide a good way to expand the network of people that have access to you, with the added advantage of a shared interest or characteristic.

As we develop a global base of support for the Israel Green Movement, our LinkedIn group will be one place for supporters from around the globe to interact. Join now!  (Submitted by Dr. Bob Goldwasser, Director of Anglo Outreach with the IGM):

2. The Unofficial Blog (which is pretty much official…) welcomes two new writers – Liat Racin and Simon Marriott:

Liat Racin - Blogging from the Arava

Liat Racin - Blogging from the Arava

Liat Racin is currently a Program Assistant at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. She earned her M.A. from the War Studies Department at King’s College, London, and her B.A. in International Relations  from the American University in Washington D.C. Before pursuing her M.A. she  worked at the United States-Israel Science and Technology Foundation, and interned for various socio-ecological organizations including Friends of the Earth Middle East, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Environmental Change and Security Program, and the Greater Washington D.C. Hadassah Chapter.

She is committed to projects that advance environmental conservation via public health initiatives, and will be writing on Israel Green Movement events and personalities in the Arava.

Simon Marriott, who will be writing on IGM issues in Haifa, as well as general environmental issues in Israel, will be profiled soon.

3.  New YouTube Video File of the Israel Green Movement

See us in action at our primaries (in Hebrew except the 30 second part with me).  For many other YouTube videos, include press interviews, news clips, demonstrations, meetings of the IGM, click here.

4. SAVE THE DATE: 7 January, 2008

On 7 January will be the grand kickoff for the Green Movement-Meimad election campaign at the Exposition Center (גני התערוכה) in Tel Aviv.  The event will be at 18:30 and is open to all Green Movement-Meimad members, friends, families and the as-0f-yet unconvinced.  Join the social-environmental revolution in Israel!
IGM-Meimad Campaign Kickoff Event - 7 January

IGM-Meimad Campaign Kickoff Event - 7 January

Israel Green Movement and the elections – running independently

The Israel Green Movement – with 900 card-carrying members and growing – has been approached by a number of parties to join with them in their race for Knesset.  The most serious of these offers – from the peoplehoodnew social-democratic party in formation (including Meretz, ex-Laborites and social activists) was turned down by the IGM membership in a vote of 22-74.  Yossi Abramowitz, who is running for the IGM list, covered the event on his blog here.  Unfortunately, I can’t cover the issues that were raised, as I didn’t attend, but I will link to the discussions around the event as they come up.

greenprophetIn the meantime, more excellent reading material from, who interviewed our spokesperson, Rami Livni, here.

And while you’re reading, here’s my newest piece – this time in the Providence Journal – on my impressions from the first Middle East Biodiversity Congress last month in Aqaba.  I include it because I argue, once again, that our environmental problems are grounded in more systemic problems of inequity, war, misplaced values, and demographic and economic issues.

The causes of our biodiversity crisis, like the causes of many of our global environmental problems, are rooted in broad, systemic problems: Wars, military training and arms races in the Middle East directly degrade the natural environment, but also insidiously distract us and divert our limited economic and political resources, from not only caring for our natural heritage, but for people as well. The gospel of economic growth churns up ecosystem after ecosystem, and with them some of the most beautiful natural assets that the Earth has to offer and a source of wonder to people. Population growth places increasing stress on hydrological systems and land reserves that must continue to provide raw materials, food, water and space to an ever-growing population.

Israel and Environment – One guy’s opinion(s)…

A couple friends (literally!  two friends) suggested that I include a list of my op-eds for easy reference.  I comment in Ha’aretz and other venues – primarily about environmental issues in Israel, but also about immigration, energy, Israel-Diaspora relations, my son being born in a shopping mall, etc.  The good folks at Ha’aretz, Jerusalem Post and the Forward leave there articles on line, so I can put up the links.  For an older op-ed from the Jerusalem Report I link to the Jewish Global Environmental Network site.  Comments are always appreciated!  I leave out some stuff less relevant to the Israel Green Movement, because I want to stick close to the theme of the blog and I have some opinions that do not represent the movement as a whole.  This doesn’t mean that everyone in the movement would agree with everything below, but… Oh, you get the point!  Read on.

A Contentious Landscape, Jerusalem Report, 18 April, 2005.  My impressions of illicit development in the Northern Negev following a tour of the region and meetings with land use planners, Nature Reserve Authority staff, local residents – and a few years of accumulated personal experience.

Conservation in Israel: Incredible Potential, Enormous Challenges, Jewish Global Environmental Network Website, Spring, 2005.  The state of biological conservation in Israel, what is at stake, what is being done about it.

A Black Day for the American Green Party, Jerusalem Post, 14 December, 2005.  Commentary about the unfortunate stand of the US Green Party with regard to Israel.  They have, in my opinion, made themselves totally irrelevant with regard to Israel due to their hypocritical and biased stance.  Fortunately, the Green Parties of Europe have – to the best of my knowledge – been rather constructive in their engagement in the region, particularly the German Green Party.

A local actor; A global difference for birds, Watershed: Brown and RISD’s Journal of Environment and Culture, Fall and Winter, 2006.  A profile of Dr. Reuven Yosef, ornithologist and activist, and his splendid work providing a crucial stopover in the southern Arava desert for millions of migratory birds.  Link downloads the entire issue, article is on page 20.

When an ‘ecological’ community is not, Haaretz, 25 March, 2007.  My take on new, elite, low-density communities in Israel that claim to be ‘ecological’.  For the flip-side on this, see “The City’s Big Green Secret” below.

Judaism’s Green Roots, The Jewish Daily Forward, 1 June, 2007.  A review of Dr. Jeremy Benstein’s book “The Way into Judaism and the Environment.”  Read the book to understand the Judaic foundation of the Israel Green Movement’s ideology.

A Crack in the Earth, Haaretz, 9 September, 2007.  A review of Haim Watzman’s “A Crack in the Earth: A Journey up Israel’s Rift Valley.  While he has not (yet?) endorsed the Israel Green Movement, I endorse his blog where he and Gershom Gorenberg deal with some of the most difficult issues facing Israeli society today.

One Privatized World, Haaretz, 12 October, 2007. My thoughts on a beautiful exhibit of globes in Tel Aviv, that, on second thought struck me as strange when I learned about the sponsors.

The City’s Big Green Secret, Haaretz, 20 December, 2007. Why I think Israel’s environmental future (and probably that of much of the world) lies in creating environmentally sustainable cities that are enjoyable and healthy places to live.

When Low-tech will do the Trick, Haaretz, 3 January, 2008.  A piece to encourage Israel to think twice before running forward with a conduit connecting the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.  Since writing it, I’ve been corrected regarding my contention that freeing up Jordan River water will refill the sea.  It won’t.  And its very unlikely that truly water-starved Jordan would be able to give up water for ecological purposes anyway.  I’ve also been increasingly impressed with the idea of a Dead-Med Canal (from the Mediterranean Sea, rather than from the Red Sea), however, I still prefer conservation and low-tech alternatives if and when possible.

Nuclear Born-Again, Haaretz, 19 May, 2008.  A review of Gwyneth Craven’s Book “Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy.”  A convincing book that posits that Nuclear Power could technically be made safe and efficient.  The open question is, considering politics and economics, would it be?  And should Israel consider it as an energy option?

What do we do now? Haaretz, 3 August, 2008.  A review of three self-help books for leading a more environmentally sound life (Ed Begley Jr.’s “Living Like Ed”,’s “Wake up and smell the planet” and Graham Hill and Meghan O’Neill’s “Ready, Set, Green” – all fun and informative books to read).  I conclude with some things we should be thinking about in Israel, and a claim that we need policies as much as individual changes if we are going to confront the worst of our environmental challenges.