The Green Program
All people have the right to a clean, healthy environment
• Passing a Basic Law on the Environment: This would improve the status of the environment in Israel, promote public health, and maintain the country’s natural resources.
• Declaring 100,000 hectares (close to 250,000 acres) of land as protected: These have been languishing for years in the Interior Ministry waiting for statutory protection as part of Israel’s network of nature reserves for the sake of future generations.
• Reestablishing an independent body to focus on long-term sustainability, such as reviving the Future Generations Commission: Such a body would be subordinate not to the Environmental Protection Ministry but rather to the Finance Ministry or the Prime Minister’s Office.
• More enforcement and root solutions to Israel’s plague of air pollution: A commitment to the full implementation of the National Air Pollution Prevention Plan within four years so that air pollution emissions in city centers is reduced and the target values of the Clean Air Law are met, no matter what.
• Enforcement of government decisions on reducing hothouse emissions in Israel by 2020: Setting new long-term goals, developing a policy for coping with climate change and integrating it in every government ministry, and expanding and adapting the budget to the scope required to implement government decisions.
• Preparing an emergency plan to reduce the concentration of hazardous materials in city centers: Moving chemical industries far from population centers (e.g., the petrochemical industrial center in Haifa Bay, the Ashdod industrial zone) and building industrial zones for clean-tech industries.
• Engaging in joint projects with the Palestinian Authority and Jordan in areas of nature preservation, water and air pollution prevention, and tourist attractions as an expression of the understanding that nature knows no borders. Using environmental awareness as a means of bringing people together and encouraging political cooperation.
Long-term economic steps
• Promoting alternate criteria of growth: The Finance Ministry and policy-makers in the government must start looking at and using measurements other than the GDP and GNP. Alternate criteria that take into account wellbeing, not just wealth, will be measured by the National Bureau of Statistics and serve as another tool to reflect the nature of market growth.
• Reducing taxes on green products: Tax incentives to encourage people to buy non-polluting products, as well as specific taxation based on the amount of long-term environmental impact products have, such as specific taxes on fuel, alcohol and tobacco. This would involve non-consumable electric products and expanding the tax brackets on polluting vehicles and products using large amounts of water and energy.
• Developing Israel’s clean-tech industry: Government incentives to Israeli companies developing energy alternatives, solutions in water, agriculture and biotechnology, etc. Explicit goals of adding 30,000 jobs in these fields.
The state is responsible for informed, sustainable planning and management of the country’s natural resources
• Limiting the export of Israel’s natural resources: Keeping natural gas reserves for use by Israel’s citizens (as opposed to adopting the conclusions of the Tzemach Committee report) and regulating the mining of phosphates and potash to maintain reserves for coming generations.
• Increasing the state’s royalties from companies exporting natural resources, per specific resource: Defining a maximal rate of profit for individual developers involved in production national natural resources.
• Allocating special budgets to reclaim Israel’s rivers and streams: Current budgets are tiny – some NIS 10 million annually. The State of Israel must begin a five-year plan to increase investment significantly for reclamation projects, which would generate real progress in restoring streams and rivers.
• Immediate approval of the amendment to the Coast Law: According to the current Coast Law, construction near the shoreline is prohibited. The amendment held up by the Netanyahu government will make sure that the projects submitted for approval before the law went into effect (2004) will be reexamined to make sure the coast remains open to the Israeli public.
• Preparing a national program for planning and managing Israel’s marine areas: Constructing an integrated national program for Israel’s marine areas; establishing an entity (authority, council or region) to manage the sea; approving the establishment of marine nature reserves waiting for statutory approval; applying Israeli law to Israel’s economic waters.
Sustainable urban life and transportation accessibility
• The public transportation revolution: Ensuring convenient, reliable, rapid, low-cost and frequent transportation to all and the massive allocation of public transportation lanes in city centers and inter-city roads. Moving funds from road to train infrastructures, while giving priority to promoting the light rail project in the Greater Tel Aviv area. Promoting bike paths in all cities as a low-cost, quick means of transportation, with a goal of 10 percent of daily travel taking place by bicycles and electric bikes within the next four years.
• Pollution from public transportation is a national scourge: Phasing out the currently polluting bus fleets of public transportation companies and replacing them with less polluting models that meet new European standards.
• Meeting the goals of the recycling revolution: Less than 20 percent of Israel’s waste is actually being recycled. Accelerating the rate of reducing waste headed for landfills. Developing an economic mechanism to give businesses, private citizens and local governments economic incentives depending on their waste disposal habits.
• Abolishing the 2011 revamped Construction Planning Law and reforms: As an alternative, the state must promote other solutions to deal with bureaucratic delays, such as adding personnel, increasing transparency, and strengthening public involvement in the decision making process; encouraging green construction; abolishing the initiative to privatize public land.
The energy revolution
• Creating a master plan for Israel’s energy market for the next 50+ years so as to create a responsible, long-term energy policy as is done in the other OECD nations.
• Thinking ahead: New reforms in the nation’s use of renewable energy. Setting new, ambitious goals to use renewable energy to produce Israel’s electricity – 10 percent by 2017, 20 percent by 2020 (in line with the EU’s decision) – by expanding areas dedicated to mid- and large-size solar fields and expanding the use of solar panels on residential rooftops. A national plan for electricity savings to reduce electricity use in Israel by 20 percent by 2020.
• Transferring the authority to enforce animal cruelty laws to the Environmental Protection Ministry: Currently, the laws fall under the authority of the Agriculture Ministry, representing a clear conflict of interests between those of farmers and those of animal protection. Establishing an animal rights authority within the Environmental Protection Ministry and increasing enforcement of animal cruelty laws.