Intensive pressure by SHATIL and two partner environmental organizations has resulted in government action that will restore and protect a damaged stream in northern Israel.
The Ein Hazahav (Golden Spring) stream is now virtually dried up. The stream has long been a landmark of Kiryat Shmona, flowing through the northern border town. But due to poor planning policies and the siphoning of water by the Neviot Water Company, substantial ecological damage has been inflicted.
The Ein Hazahav stream has dried up in recent years.
Now, however, thanks to a recent decision of the planning authorities to limit the extraction of water, the stream will flow once again.
This development follows a three-year collaborative campaign led by SHATIL, the local Association for the Preservation of Nature and Scenery (APNS) and Green Course. Johanna Nizri, director of APNS and a graduate of a SHATIL civic activism course, recruited local volunteers and the support of the Kiryat Shmona municipality. With the municipality on board, the campaign gained intensity. "We distributed a petition, held rallies, and went to the Knesset,” says Johanna. “We did virtually everything to make everyone understand that the stream must not dry up."
The campaign to save the Ein Hazahav stream is part of a larger effort to protect the environment in Israel's northern periphery. "We are now engaged in a number of initiatives with promising results," says Keren Malkieli-Yatzkar, the northern coordinator of SHATIL's Environmental Justice Initiative. SHATIL's current environmental efforts in the north address, among other concerns, the proposed establishment of gas extraction facilities south of Haifa and proposed housing construction in a nature reserve near Tzfat.
"We are working with local volunteers, students, emerging and established organizations and local authorities," says Malkieli-Yatzkar. "Together, we are getting media attention, reaching the public and enabling residents to voice their concerns and influence decisions that affect their lives."