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Enduring Technological Optimism: Zionism’s Environmental Ethic and its Influence on Israel’s Environmental History

By Dr. Alon Tal



When Zionism emerged in Europe as the Jewish people's national movement at the advent of the 20th century, its political leaders and ideological visionaries were concerned about defining an appropriate relationship between Jewish settlement in Palestine and the Land of Israel. Just as it sported a rich variety of political camps and philosophies, Zionism did not embrace a monolithic environmental ethic. The perceptions and attitudes toward the natural world and the role of human intervention in the reclaiming of Jewish people's ancient homeland evolved dramatically as the pioneering community became more familiar with the country's physical realties and the agrarian economy became more industrialized. Yet, the initial technological optimism that informed the European founders' strategy for settlement in the Middle East persisted and influences responses to growing environmental challenges in Israel today.




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"It should not be believed that all the beings exist for the sake of the existence of humanity. On the contrary, all the other beings too have been intended for their own sakes, and not for the sake of something else."

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Did You Know?

Israel and Jordan share responsibility for supplying Jordan with 50 million cubic meters of drinking water annually because of the countries' 2004 peace agreement.

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