Toxic wastewater that surged through a dry riverbed in southern Israel at the weekend left a wake of ecological destruction.
The costumes line the streets and Purim is in the air. It’s really one of my favorite holidays, made more so by the preparations for our community’s traditional English-speakers Tzfat Purim shpiel. I excitedly anticipate the unique mishloach manot (gift packages) that my Sepharadi neighbors send – their homemade Moroccan Purim challahs, Djerbian orange-flavored donuts, Tunisian muffletot and Iraqi Sambusks are a highlight of the holiday. I make my own strawberry jam, since spring is strawberry-time in Israel (wash and crush 2 kilos of strawberries, add a tiny bit of sugar and let it simmer for several hours on the stove till it turns into a jam) so that I can present my neighbors with strawberry hamantashen.
In Israel, all indicators show a decline in biological diversity. About one-third of plant species unique to Israel and some two-thirds of all mammals are in danger of extinction.
Israel has demolished abandoned military posts in the Jordan Valley that housed hundreds of protected bats, despite understandings with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.In the process, hundreds of bats were probably buried alive. The ministry says it asked the parks authority to take responsibility for the sites, but that these requests were ignored.
Tu B’Shvat seems to be a holiday in transition. Once a celebration of all things Israeli, its modern incarnation is as an eco-conscious ‘green’ Jewish holiday.
Can the Dead Sea hold on? We’re not talking ecologically — though that is of prime concern to scientists and conservationists studying how and why the sea has been shrinking in size. The Shmooze, on the other hand, is worried about whether the Dead Sea can make it to at least 7th place among the 28 finalists for the New 7 Wonders of Nature.