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GZA passes four green resolutions at the World Zionist Congress

JERUSALEM (June 17, 2010) — The World Zionist Organization took major steps today 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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