Beyond Sports: Soldiers Get Involved in Environmental Action

Photo: IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson

Soldiers at an IDF (Zahal) fitness base, Wingate, are making environmental strides

Date: 03/07/2009, 10:58 AM     Author: Arnon Ben-Dror

At the Wingate Institute, you’ll find more soldiers wearing fitness gear than green army uniforms- but the color green is definitely on the minds of these soldiers. During the past year, the base took responsibility for the Nahal Poleg nature reserve beach in Netanya, which is a project that was initiated by soldiers. The students of the course, as well as the training staff, are making time in their schedules in order to clean the beach.

The base commanders are ensuring that the efforts go beyond cleaning the beach. In order to enhance environmental awareness of the trainers and the trainees, the center provides lectures about the environment by experts, installs empty bottles in toilet tanks in order to save water, recycles cans, papers, and newspapers at the base with the assistance of a civilian company. These actions constitute a model for IDF (Zahal) bases in the environmental protection field.

“We have a background in navigation, we love nature, as well as the country itself,” explains the Department Commander Second Lt. Ehud Alon, regarding what brought him and his soldiers to get involved with environmental issues.

The Nature and Parks Authority are also satisfied. “The fitness and hand-to-hand combat base is very positive. It is responsible for many great environmental initiatives and a nature preserve,” says Uri Kaiser, the Nature and Parks Authority inspector in the Sharon region. “The soldiers are doing things in order to change the young generation’s way of thinking. I am very proud to be a part of that.”

The soldiers and commanders of the base will soon begin to remove heavy waste and metals that have accumulated throughout the years at a beach near the base itself. Recently, the Planning Directorate has put aside several thousand shekels for this project. The funding is secured through the program operated by the Planning Directorate, and also makes use of additional funds coming from projects initiated by various IDF (Zahal) bases.