International Earth Day: "IDF at the peak of a green revolution"

IDF (Zahal) tightens enforcement of environmental regulations and implements nature friendly solutions in a long-term financial plan

Date: 22/04/2012, 12:30 PM     Author: Daniel Temkin

For over two decades, the IDF (Zahal) has been working to become ‘nature friendly’ protecting the environment and raising awareness. This includes a long-term financial plan investing billions of NIS, establishing a department responsible for environmental law and more.

According to Cpt. Izhar Itzhaki, IDF (Zahal) Legal Advisor on Environmental Protection for the past two years, the IDF (Zahal) is currently implementing the largest environmental initiative in the history of the IDF (Zahal). “It impacts every unit,” he said. “It represents a change in the culture of the IDF (Zahal).”

The 15-year, billion-shekel program will minimize pollution at IDF (Zahal) bases across the country. The challenges that Cpt. Itzhaki has confronted include increasing energy efficiency, recycling, and conservation of resources; reducing land, water, and air pollution; and managing the risk of environmental damage caused by asbestos.

Cpt. Itzhaki noted that environmental protection is important to the IDF (Zahal) for several reasons. For instance, the military has a history of recycling in order to conserve precious resources. But beyond such objectives, he emphasized a fundamental similarity between the protective character of the IDF (Zahal) and its increasingly green agenda: “At the end of the day, the basic purpose of both of them is to save lives.”

As part of a growing trend of increasing environmental awareness, activism, the IDF (Zahal) established the IDF (Zahal) Legal Advisor on Environmental Protection post in 2010. It followed the establishment of the Environmental Protection Administration of the IDF (Zahal) in 2009, which streamlined environmental protection within the IDF (Zahal) by bringing together experts from various units within the army.

“The years 2010 and 2011 were the golden years of Israeli environmental legislation,” explained Cpt. Itzhaki. The trend has continued this year, yielding stricter regulation of both the IDF (Zahal) and Israeli civil society.

“The army began true environmental enforcement. We’re at the peak of a revolution,” explained Cpt. Itzhaki. Additional upcoming projects include water heaters using natural gases, environmentally friendly fuel infrastructures and automatic faucets.