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Discussion: Zionist Eco-Dilemmas

By Noam Dolgin

  1. Put each dilemma on a card.
  2. Break the participants into groups of three and hand each group a card with a dilemma.
  3. Ask each group to:
    • Read and discuss the dilemma.
    • Figure out what ecological and Jewish issues are involved.
    • Come up with a solution, or choose an answer to the dilemma, although everyone within each group does not have to agree.
  4. After 10 minutes ask each group to present their dilemma and explain their decision(s).





Dilemma (A)

The Israeli Council on the Environment has published a report that recommends a population limit for Israel based on the number of people that the land can support without losing critical wildlife habitat and irreparably damaging soil, water and air quality. Once the limit has been reached in two years, the council proposes that only Jews fleeing persecution be allowed to make aliyah. What is your opinion of the council's proposal?





Dilemma (B)

The Israel Defense Forces, responding to sniper fire from Palestinian farmland that has killed or injured numerous passing Israeli motorists, have been systematically razing olive farms owned by Palestinians in order to remove the trees behind which snipers can hide while firing upon civilians. But the olive trees are the primary source of income for many Palestinians — and they also are the primary habitat for many birds and rodents. Additionally, a law in the Torah forbids the cutting of fruit trees in a time of war. Do you think the military should continue razing the olive groves?





Dilemma (C)

The city of Eilat, whose primary source of revenue is based on tourism, and the Ministry of Tourism have begun a joint international advertising campaign to promote scuba diving on the coral reefs in an attempt to double the current number of scuba tourists. Eilat currently has the highest density of scuba diving in the world, and under this pressure the reefs have begun to show major signs of degradation. You are aware that coral reefs worldwide are highly endangered from over-fishing, development, over-diving and climate change, and that they are the second most diverse ecosystem on earth. How do you feel about this proposal? An alternative group has proposed limiting the number of divers at a number considered sustainable: 1,000 a day (20% of current levels). How do you feel about the advertising campaign and the proposal to limit the number of divers?





Dilemma (D)

The Israeli government is constructing a security fence to separate the West Bank from Israel in an attempt to stop the movement of terrorists from the West Bank into Israel. Additionally, the fence may stop the movement of all migratory and roaming land animals, including ibexes, gazelles and wolves. This barrier could lead to decreased populations, and possibly extinction, for these animals, but it may save countless Israeli lives. What is your opinion of the fence?





Dilemma (E)

A survey taken in Beer Sheva found that 80% of residents enjoy going to forested national parks, while only 15% enjoy recreation in the open desert. KKL/JNF has long been planting trees in desert climates, changing the ecosystem to be more "beautiful" and "fun" for Israeli recreation. How do you feel about KKL/JNF afforestation activities? Should KKL/JNF continue to plant forests as demanded by the public even in areas not naturally forested? Or is the desert beautiful as it is?






Israeli Nature Poll

What is your favorite natural area of Israel?


"God placed the human in the garden of Eden to serve and keep it."

- Genesis 2:15

Did You Know?

Israel has more than 200 national parks and nature reserves.

Mideast Green News

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