The Greening of Israel

Israel's environmental crisis is becoming worrisome

| May/June 2002

Long overlooked because of ongoing violence throughout the country, Israel's environmental crisis is becoming worrisome. "It has become painfully clear that the landscape of Israel is fast vanishing before our very eyes," environmentalist Yoav Sagi tells Jonathan Schorsch in the Jewish journal Tikkun (Jan./Feb. 2002). Increased population density (parts of Israel will be more heavily populated than anywhere in Europe by 2020, some say) is creating reckless urban sprawl, with expansive road construction, malls, and skyscrapers. But there is reason for hope, writes Schorsch. Last year, for the first time, environmentalists won election to several municipal councils, where zoning changes could slow development. But the real solution, Schorsch argues, lies in finding peace. "Ultimately, only truly open borders, mutual respect, and restraint will allow an easing of the burden on the land in carrying so many human beings: the possibility of Jewish communities in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority, the possibility of Palestinian communities in Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Beit Shemesh."