NEW YORK (April 26, 2012) — Falafel fests, movie nights, dance parties — Americans celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut in many ways. But what do Israelis do on Independence Day? They head outdoors.
Last year so many people jammed into the country’s de-facto national-park system, run by KKL-JNF, that parks were closed because they reached capacity. So, how many people was that, you ask? About one in every five Israelis — more than 1.5 million people — which is also about the same number of trees that have been planted in Israel since 2007 because of the work of the Green Zionist Alliance. That’s right, we’ve gotten a million-plus trees planted in the last five years.
Of course, as those who remember the recent Carmel fire know, it’s not just planting trees that matters, but the type and diversity of trees. That’s why one of the first things that we did after we first participated in our first World Zionist Congress was adding more trees to the planting mix. Thanks to our work, more varieties of trees are being planted today than the classic pine — and that includes trees suitable for semi-arid climates.
But when Israelis head outdoors today, it won’t just be the trees that they’ll be enjoying — many will be biking on some of the hundreds of miles of bike trails that have been built across the country because of the Green Zionist Alliance. That includes the Kinneret Circumference Trail, the Trans-Israel Bike Trail and many others — the list gets longer every year as our work gets more and more bike trails built and expanded.
Today Israelis also are enjoying both the nature reserve in Nes Tsiona, an open space in between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and the Samar sand dunes, near Eilat — both of which have been preserved because of the work of the Green Zionist Alliance.
This Yom Ha’atzmaut, give Israel an environmentally friendly birthday gift: Join the Green Zionist Alliance and help green Israel. Then go outside.