Israel Environment Bulletin Autumn 1993-5754, Vol. 16, No. 4

ENVIRONMENTAL COVENANT

We hereby attest that we have convened in Beit Hanassi (the Presidents’ Residence) in Jerusalem on Monday, the 20th day in the month of Elul 5753, September 6th 1993, in order to implement the government decision declaring the Jewish year, 5754, the Year of the Environment.

We, the citizens of Israel Jews, Arabs and Druse representatives of the cabinet and the Knesset, the Chief Rabbinate, local authorities, the Histadrut Federation of Labor, the Manufacturers Association, farmers, industrialists and friends of the environment undertake, within the framework of this covenant, to heed the environmental commandments

Namely:

Our world is one and our country is one irreplaceable and they are entrusted to us to bequeath to future generations as they were bestowed upon us and improved by our own contribution, as the Creator commanded Adam: "See My works, how beautiful and perfect they are, and all I created I created for you. Beware lest you spoil and destroy My world, for if you will spoil it, there is no one to repair it after you." (Ecclesiastes Rabba, 7:28)

It is incumbent upon us to nurture and respect our plot of land with its unique landscape, climate and diversity of flora and fauna of which it is written, "the good and ample land which Thou wast pleased to give as a heritage to our fathers and to us, to eat of its fruits and to be satisfied with its goodness"; a land in which the past touches the future and commands it: remember and observe; a land in which landscape and spirit, culture and creativity, tradition and renewal are inextricably intertwined and become as one.

Our universe and the natural resources which embellish it are our source of life bestowing water and nourishment, medicine and building resources to sustain man and the living world which surrounds him. Their goodness must be derived in prudence and wisdom so as neither to deplete nor destroy them, so as not to disrupt the precious and wondrous balance of nature lest we destroy from our midst flora, fauna, and landscape resources.

The goal of scientific development and technological progress, which have skyrocketed in the 20th century, is the advancement of quality of life upon this earth. Yet, all too frequently, in the blaze of development set off by the man-dominated machine, the blessing of progress is transformed into the curse of decline, bringing about irreparable disruption and ruin all by man’s very hands.

Therefore, We Hereby Declare:

We have hereby entered into a covenant with all human beings, wherever they may be, to stand united to close the breach, to stop the mindless destruction and extinction which threaten our planet. Environmental degradation knows no boundaries, no nationalities, no states. Now is the time to heed the message of the Rio Earth Summit, the message of international and regional cooperation and national responsibility our only guarantees of success.

The commandment of environmental protection is in our hands and in our hearts to fulfill. We must ensure that all that is done for the benefit of the individual and the collective takes account of the environment and its resources, taking care not to destroy, damage or mar our planet’s natural beauty. We must preserve the image of the land and the rich heritage which is embedded in its landscapes, for man is the image of his native landscape.

At the forefront of our concern are the limited natural resources which were handed to us water, soil and air; we shall preserve them from all harm to prevent their depletion and deterioration through wise use and sustainable development. We will use these resources without abusing them, without disturbing the sensitive balance between human welfare and environmental wholeness. We will endeavor to rehabilitate those natural resources heedlessly damaged, those environmental treasures recklessly destroyed.

We shall base our activity on the sound foundation of legislation, both international conventions and national legislation, placing environmental welfare high on the priority list of decision makers and planners. We shall develop innovative technologies which will benefit the environment, and we shall foster study and research to promote wise development.

Quality of the environment is synonymous with quality of life, for "the beauty of a place reflects on its inhabitants" (Sotah 47). It is written in the Talmudic literature that a pleasant home and pleasant furnishings enlarge a man’s contentment, and the same is said with regard to trees and flowers and above all the cleanliness of premises, markets and courtyards. It is incumbent upon us to inculcate an environmental ethic and code of conduct in the individual and in mankind for only thus will we achieve the full measure of our humanity.

We hereby sign this covenant with the faith and conviction that our concern for our environment will represent a challenge calling out to every man, organization and group. May we have the chance to fulfill, in theory and in practice, the special slogan of this year: "To the Environment with Love."

Signed:

The President of the State of Israel
Prime Minister
Minister of the Environment
Chairman of the Knesset
Chief Rabbis
Representatives of the Histadrut Federation of Labor, Local Government Authority, Consumer Protection and Environmental Protection Authority, Manufacturers Association and heads of governmental and non-governmental environmental organizations.