Jews are properly 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? What about climate change that, according to the Israeli Union for Environmental Defense (Adam Teva v’Din), may result in an average temperature increase of up to 6 degrees Celsius, a drop in average precipitation of 20-30 percent, severe storms when rain occurs, increased desertification, and an inundation of the coastal plain where most Israelis live by a rising Mediterranean Sea. While not discussed frequently enough, these and other environmental dangers and degradations have increasingly become serious issues that will greatly affect Israel’s future.
An election has started that gives you a chance to have a say about Israel’s environmental future. While most Jews are unaware of it, they are entitled to a voice about Israel’s future. That voice is the World Zionist Congress, which meets every four years in Jerusalem with the mandate to fund programs and create policies that will help achieve the goals of the Jewish People. The Congress was initially set up by Theodor Herzl and led directly to the establishment of the State of Israel. It has been a partner with the Government of Israel since that time but sadly, very few Jews know that they have a chance to speak up through their vote. if you are Jewish and over 18 years of age, you can make your voice heard by voting!
The voting takes place from January 14, 2015 through April 30, 2015. Every Jewish person over age 18 is entitled to vote for the slate of his or her choice. As with the first Zionist Congress held in 1897, there is a nominal charge to vote ($5 for persons under the age of 30 and $10 for those above the age of 30). The charge is used to defray the costs of the election.
The 37th Zionist Congress will meet in October 2015 and will include 525 delegates representing Jews in many nations around the world. The United States will field 145 delegates who represent a variety of political organizations. My slate is called Green Israel, which includes Ayztim–Ecological Judaism;, the Green Zionist Alliance, Jewcology.org, and Shomrei Breishit. We are focused on taking action to protect Israel’s environment, increase the country’s use of renewable energy, and to help Israel become a global leader in sustainable practice.
Why Vote for the Green Israel Slate?
Many groups will be competing to participate in the 37th World Zionist Congress but few can have the impact that Green Israel can. While competing groups would like to have their voice heard on political issues involving Israel and its foreign or religious policy objectives, they may not have any significant impact because the Israeli Knesset has exclusive control over these issues. The Green Israel slate can make a difference on issues regarding land since the World Zionist Organization controls the Jewish National Fund, which owns over 14% of the actual land of Israel. What is done on that land (which includes nature preserves as well as cities) can be directly influenced by the World Zionist Congress. In other words, Green Israel can make a real impact and not just a symbolic one. We can create more environmentally friendly practices and help Israel be more energy independent if we can garner enough votes.
The Green Zionist Alliance (GZA) is the first environmental group to ever participate in the World Zionist Congress. Now Green Israel, which has become the umbrella slate for Aytzim, the GZA and our other Jewish environmental partners, has been embraced by all streams of the Zionist movement — left to right, secular to religious, Reform to Orthodox. From the early Zionist pioneers to Israel’s modern environmental, water-saving, and renewable energy technologies, ecological sustainability has been a fundamental tenet of Zionism. Those who love the land of Israel must work to protect it. Voting for the Green Israel slate will help ensure that environmental sustainability stays at the forefront of Israel’s future.
To learn more about GZA’s past work and past legislation as well as about the resolutions we are planning to bring to the 37th Congress, please see: http://www.aytzim.org/congress .
Please vote for a green Israel by voting for the Green Israel slate at: http://worldzionistcongress.org.