Home Resources Articles

Please donate to the GZA!


Success in Jerusalem: Shmita Planning and a Fracking Ban

By David Krantz

9 Cheshvan 5776  /  Oct. 22, 2015

JERUSALEM — Finally, the Zionist organizational world is saying hello to shmita and goodbye to fracking, thanks to two new laws that Aytzim’s Green Zionist Alliance passed at this week’s World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem.


Using shmita as an environmental framework, the first new law mandates that the World Zionist Organization and its constituent agencies — including Keren Kayemet L'Yisrael (Jewish National Fund in Israel), the Jewish Agency for Israel, and Keren HaYesod (United Israel Appeal) — first measure their carbon emissions and then develop seven-year climate-action plans to reduce their carbon footprints. It also requires the issuance of annual reports describing both the climate-action plans as well as the progress toward achieving them. This will be the first time that these Zionist institutions will be taking environmental sustainability into account in their long-term planning.


It’s fitting that such a shmita-inspired law passed this year, since the Congress served, although unknowingly to most in attendance, as a hakhel — the time just after the end of the shmita year when Jews from all over gather in Jerusalem to learn and discuss the law.


The second new law prohibits all fossil-fuel extraction — including fracking and in-situ retorting — on land owned by KKL-JNF. And, perhaps more importantly, it instructs KKL-JNF to actively oppose fossil-fuel extraction projects elsewhere in the country when Israel’s water resources are at risk, such as the planned extraction of oil near the Sea of Galilee. Last year, with support from Aytzim and KKL-JNF, oil-shale fracking was blocked in Central Israel’s Adullam region, and this new law will help ensure that KKL-JNF’s position remains favoring clean freshwater over dirty energy extraction.


You can read the full text of both new laws here.


Although both laws, when proposed, were rejected many times by committees and bureaucrats in advance of the Congress, Aytzim’s delegation to the Congress succeeded in circumventing the traditional resolutions route and, through collecting delegate signatures, pushed both resolutions into and through committee and onto the Congress floor, where they both passed near unanimously.


Large institutions like the World Zionist Organization, which is nearly twice as old as the modern Israeli state, can be slow to change. But thanks to the effort of Aytzim, with your support, and Aytzim’s partners, the Zionist world is becoming greener every day. And that means cleaner air, water and land for all of Israel.




David Krantz is the president and chairperson of Aytzim: Ecological Judaism.



Israeli Nature Poll

What is your favorite natural area of Israel?


"Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi watched a calf being led to slaughter. The animal broke form the herd and hid itself under the rabbi's clothing, crying for mercy. But he pushed it away, saying, 'Go, for you were destined for this!' They said in heaven, 'Since he showed no compassion, let us bring suffering upon him.' For years afterward, the rabbi suffered from a series of painful illnesses. One day his servant was sweeping the house. She was about to sweep away some young weasels she found lying on the floor, but he told her, 'Leave them alone!' Then they said of him in heaven, 'Since he has shown compassion, let us be compassionate with him.' And he was cured."

- Babylonian Talmud: Bava Metzia 85a

Did You Know?

Of the main tributaries to the Jordan River, only one - the Dan Spring - lies within Israel's pre-1967 boundaries. The Banyas Springs are in the Golan Heights and the Hasbani Spring is in Lebanon.

Mideast Green News

Aytzim (Green Zionist Alliance, Inc.) is classified by the IRS as a tax-exempt nonprofit organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).

Aytzim.org is a carbon-neutral website hosted by DreamHost and is best viewed in Firefox. Please donate to Aytzim!

Aytzim™, Ecological Judaism™, Jewcology™, Shomrei Breishit™, Rabbis and Cantos for the Earth™, Green Zionist Alliance™, The Grassroots Campaign for a Sustainable Israel™, Green Zionism™, Green Israel™ and Green Israel Summit™ are trademarks of Aytzim.

Copyright © 2018 Aytzim and its respective contributors. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in any form without written permission. No quotes may be used in any media without attribution Aytzim. The opinions expressed and those of the authors do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Aytzim, its staff or lay leaders.



Green Zionist Alliance educational resources are made possible
in part due to support from Mercaz/Masorti Olami, Hazon and Jewcology.