As part of the events marking the Knesset`s 67th birthday and the 50th anniversary of the parliament building in Jerusalem, the Knesset and ”Life and Environment – The Israeli Union of Environmental NGOs” – held a conference on Tuesday titled ”The Environmental Movement and the Knesset – Past, Present and Future” which focused on the historic milestones of the movement and its relations with parliament.

Knesset Director-General Ronen Plot welcomed the participants and mentioned that the Knesset is the greenest parliament in the world, while Life and Environment Deputy Director Nir Papai said the Knesset serves as a key platform for promoting environmental ideas, mainly through legislation.

MK Khenin, head of the Social-Environmental Lobby: ”Israel may become one big Holyland complex”

MK Dov Khenin (archives)

Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay and MKs Dov Khenin (Joint List), Yael Cohen Paran (Zionist Camp), Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) and Amir Peretz (Zionist Camp) all addressed the conference.

Naor Yerushalmi, former CEO of Life and Environment, said the environmental movement must adopt a strategy that includes more dialogue in order to have greater influence on government ministries, local authorities and companies.

MK Khenin warned that ”Israel may become one big Holyland”, the controversial residential complex in Jerusalem. He said that when environmental groups fought against the project, ”we sensed something was rotten.”

MK Gafni noted that he had organized a conference focusing on Judaism and the environment and insisted that the chief rabbi participate.

Minister Gabbay said Haifa has the most severe air pollution problem and that his office was working to reduce the level of pollution in the city.