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Sharing the Land — A Parable

On its surface, this follow-up post is about the pigeons in Tel Aviv’s Meir Dizengoff Park. But there is a deeper message here, one that reaches well below the grass the birds strut upon. It conveys something good about Tel Aviv, in particular, and about Israel in general.

A bit of background for those who may not know the original story. A modest piece of landscape not much bigger than a soccer field hosts all manner of activities in the heart of the city. Families carrying babies in tummy packs, elementary school children celebrating birthdays, boy and girl scout troops performing group activities, and picnickers of all ages share Gan Meir with the birds and other creatures.

Last year, a man and his neighbors waged a campaign on behalf of the Gan Meir pigeons. They wrote letters to the city about synthetic mesh that served as backing for the sod planted on the biggest common space. As the grass thinned from use, and the earth below it eroded, the plastic netting migrated to the surface and entangled pigeons’ legs, restricting blood flow to their feet and causing nasty deformities.  Whether one likes pigeons, or not, to see them hobbled by white and green twine was not a pretty sight.

The pigeon protectors’ campaign, which went on for a year, ultimately succeeded. City workers removed the synthetic mesh, and the pigeons’ quality of life improved, as did the moods of their champions.

Last week the city delivered giant rolls of new sod to Gan Meir, each bound in the same green synthetic mesh that previously made the lives of pigeons miserable. The man and his neighbors again wrote to the municipality to remind them about the dangers of the plastic threads.

And voila! The sod was laid, the mesh was removed, and park life has gone on peacefully. Three cheers for Tel Aviv.

It is a simple story, a modest step forward for all of the creatures that share the land of Gan Meir. The significant, deeper message here is that people cared enough to speak up, repeatedly, and the city cared enough to listen, and act. Without trying to sound too grandiose, I believe all of Israel benefits from such an example of well-meaning cooperation. 

If only we can arrive at such happy outcomes with regard to other parcels of land in Israel. But that’s a topic for another blog post, if not a dozen

About the Author
Filmmaker, playwright, and children's book author Marc Kornblatt is the producer/director of the award-winning documentaries DOSTOEVSKY BEHIND BARS, STILL 60, WHAT I DID IN FIFTH GRADE, and LIFE ON THE LEDGE, among others, and more than 20 web series, including MINUTE MAN, ROCK REGGA, THE NARROW BRIDGE PROJECT, and BLUE & RED, RESPECTFUL ENCOUNTERS OF THE POLITICAL KIND. He and his wife made Aliyah in 2019 and now live in Tel Aviv.
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