Past Grants and new Initiatives
TAL FUND GRANTS MADE FROM 2018-2020
Adam Teva V’din and the Environment Conference 2050
Adam Teva V’din (The Israel Union for Environmental Defense) is Israel’s leading environmental advocacy group, working on a range of sustainability issues – from air quality and climate change to solid waste and pesticides. The organization recently received funding from the Tal Fund to continue their operations in the buildup to the Environment Conference 2050, where they presented a report describing the legal and legislative actions that are being done around the world to address the climate crisis and the pressing need to promote climate justice in Israel. This report was utilized as the basis for creating a roadmap and strategy for Israel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mobilize local organizations to get involved in climate mitigation efforts.
Sustainable Fashion: "Dressing for November"
Sustainable Fashion is a new environmental initiative, which recently launched the “Dressing for November” venture. The fashion industry is among the most polluting industries in the world. The Tal Fund recently agreed to help fund Michal Lester’s “November Campaign” to raise awareness about this sad truth at a time of year when people do the most shopping. The campaign sought to lead a wide-ranging change of consciousness in Israeli society. Creating awareness of a new issue is always challenging, but we believe that today we have the opportunity to raise awareness of the environmental fashion industry's damage and lead to change in Israeli society. During the campaign, Lester and her associates started a massive social media effort and established booths at busy malls during the holiday shopping season in an effort to promote more environmentally friendly options for shopping such as second hand-shopping and fashion minimalism. They were able to reach a high level of exposure, breaking onto media outlets such as podcasts and radio shows. This was the first national attempt to begin to address the complex challenges with the environmental impact of an increasingly consumerist society.
Addressing the Solid Waste Crisis in Israel’s Arab Communities
Solid waste generation and litter are daunting issues in Israel, especially in Arab communities. A variety of factors combine to produce an unhealthy reality of trash clogging city streets with inappropriate infrastructure and services for recycling or disposing appropriately. As a result, many citizens have turned to burning trash, which causes massive damage to both the surrounding environment and local residents who inhale the fumes from the burning refuse. The Citizens for the Environment, a group that brings Arab and Jewish citizens together to address environmental problems in the Galilee, recently received funding from the Tal Fund to combat this practice of burning trash and the general problem of waste in Arab communities. With their grant, they continue to operate a roundtable of local Jewish and Arab leaders with the goal to eradicate the trash problem. They also sent petitions to the government of Israel to attempt to force them to clean the trash.
Support for Citizen Science: Monitoring of Streams:
A grant was made to support class action suits brought by citizens to address the contamination of streams. Working with the Katz Water Quality professional sampling services and affiliated laboratories, water quality measurements were made to identify the source and nature of contamination, including radioactive pollution. The findings have led to the submission of legal actions against the polluting factories in the area.
Tal Fund grants made from 2012-2017
Preserving Sasgon Valley:
This pristine corner of the greater Timna region has been zoned for a resort development including numerous hotel buildings, boat canals and attractions. Citizens from the Arava organized a campaign to prevent citing of hotel in this area, proposing alternative locations. The campaign included legal action, appearances before the Southern Planning and Building Commission, etc. At present it appears as if the hotels will be built but on a far smaller scale than was originally proposed.
Pristine Sasgon Valley, site of future resort complex.
Palmachim Beach – Consolidating Victory:
The Tal Fund was among the very first to financially support this improbable, but ultimately successful campaign to prevent a tourist village on, one of the last open and natural Mediterranean stretches of beach in the central region. In 2012, a grant was made to develop a web-site that documents the campaign and offers the lessons learned as an educational resource for the public.
Palmachim Beach: a remarkable conservation victory.
Public Health and Quarrying in the Negev:
In the southern development town of Arad, citizens established a new association to oppose plans that would bring phosphate mining activities in the Sedeh Barir fields with its associated radioactive dust, to the edge of the city limits. The campaign included conducting a risk assessment that projected severe health impacts if the zoning request of the Rotem Amfert Negev, (an Israel Chemicals subsidiary) would be approved. Among the activities included in the grant were support for buses to tale residents to Jerusalem demonstrations, publicity materials and general campaign support.
Environmental Activism comes to the development town of Arad: At issue exposures to radioactive dust
Moving Away from Coal-fired Electricity:
Green Course, the national student network has received support in past years for a number of innovative initiatives. In 2013 a grant was made to support their efforts to lobby the government and Israel’s National Planning and Building Commission to opt for a new power plant in Ashkelon based on low carbon fuels as the default source of energy. This was the final stage in a multi-year campaign which proved successful, with the new power station to be based on natural gas.
Ashkelon’s new power plant: Natural Gas or Coal?
Innovation in Environmental Education:
A special grant from Washington D.C.’s Adas Israel congregation was designated to support the new Educational Center at Kibbutz Hanaton.
The kibbutz’s dynamic educational center developed a series of new educational initiatives for Israeli and international youth. The programs have commenced and based on the growing demand, are highly successful. The grant is a multi-year commitment.
The Conservative Movement’s recently renewed Kibbutz Hanaton: Environmental Education.
Environmental Activities in Negev Development Towns:
The Tal Fund received a donation to establish a unique initiative in conjunction with Ben Gurion University: The Negev Environmental Fellowship.. A competition was held among graduate students to propose new initiatives for improving the environment in the Negev. Itzik Krispel, a resident of Ofakim was selected by a joint JNF/Ben Gurion University steering committee to establish an environmental center in this development town. In his first six months as a Negev Environmental Fellow, he has created a community garden, a biking program and launched a series of educational initiatives, working with the first ever Ofakim environmental action committee.
Ofakim youth working new community garden as part of Negev Fellowship.
Using Cinema to Reach New Communities:
Ecolnoa (EcoCinema) has emerged as Israel’s national environmental film festival and in the past the Tal Fund has supported this exciting new approach to expanding the awareness of the Israeli public through film. This year, an additional grant was made to underwrite the festival’s activities in a development town and in the Arab-Israeli communities, including Arabic sub-titles for films. The Ecolnoa festival will thus be able to reach out to communities that are often not as engaged as others in Israel’s environmental movement.
Beyond the movies, EcoCinema events include festivals and supplementary lectures to support environmental campaigns, such as expanding solar energy use.
Supporting Public’s Concerns about Haifa Newest Environmental Health Hazard:
Haifa residents have long been subject to exposure to a range of environmental hazards originating from the Haifa Bay petrochemical complex. Recently, the Israel Petroleum Refineries built a new “hydrogen cracking” facility which poses a range of health risks, circumventing conventional notice and comment procedures. The Coalition for Public Health, a Haifa based alliance of several environmental groups received funding to monitor the project and lobby for maximum safety and environmental measures.
Haifa residents protest against the latest public health threat posed by local Oil Refinery facilities.
Stopping a Highway Overpass in the Jerusalem Forest:
The Jerusalem forest provides the capital with a unique shaded refuge. Yet, the woodlands have been shrinking in recent years due to steady development and are now but a quarter of the original 4,000 dunam size. Now the forest is threatened again, this time by Highway 16, a proposed new southern route into Jerusalem from the main Tel Aviv highway. A public campaign supported in the past by the Tal Fund succeeded in convincing the national highway agency to build much of the highway in an underground tunnel.
Unfortunately, the final proposal set before the National Infrastructure Committee would construct a 1.5 billion shekel overpass, linking the tunnel to Jerusalem’s western neighborhoods. The overpass is to be located in the lovely Nahal Revida section of the Jerusalem Forest. Yet, no other transportation options were assessed as alternatives to the proposal. In a joint effort with the Beracha Fund and the Jewish National Fund, a major grant offered funding for an alternative transportation feasibility study, a press campaign and public activities that included 2000 signatures of the local ultra-orthodox neighborhood in Har Nof opposing the project. At present, the campaign is fully underway, even as the community activists working to save this lovely corner of the forest are considered to be underdogs.
Photoshop on behalf of the environment: Simulated image of proposed Highway 16 overpass in the Revidah stream area of the Jerusalem Forest prepared by activists to alert public of road’s ecological implications.
Saving the Habonim Beach:
The Green and Blue Association, based in the city of Atlit has emerged as a highly effective environmental advocate for the entire coastal region, south of Haifa. When proposals for establishing a refinery for natural gas on the Habonim Coast there were floated, it realized that a new threat to one of the most beloved and scenic coastal zones in Israel. Its rapid response included a media campaign, demonstration and lobbying, all contributed to the quick retreat by developers. This was an example of an emergency grant to nimbly respond to a pressing challenge.
Lively beach demonstration: Signs read – "The Beaches Belong to the Nation."
Arab and Jewish Cooperation to Improve Galilee Water Quality:
In the Galilee, sewage infrastructure remains inadequate especially among Israel’s Arab communities. One recent assessment estimates that sewage from 500,000 Israelis is still poorly treated. El-Amal (“The Hope” in Arabic) an NGO based in Sha’ab created a regional activist forum in which Arabs and Jews are equally represented. The forum has begun a public and legal campaign to force municipalities to upgrade sewage infrastructure. A grant from the Tal Fund supports El-Amal’s work as leaders of this coalition.
Raw sewage flowing through streets is still a common site in many Arab villages.
Promoting Green Building in Arid Environments:
Green building in Israel remains highly undeveloped, contributing to high electricity consumption and poor indoor air quality. The Jeffrey Cook Foundation in Arizona supports climate sensitive construction and has partnered with the Tal Fund twice before to support a special workshop held at Sedeh Boqer every other year to share the latest developments in arid-land, sustainable buildings.
Cook workshop participant name tags awaiting participants’ arrival.
Keeping the Final Sand Dunes in the Arava Intact:
The battle to save the Samar sand dunes emerged as a major national environmental controversy in 2012. At issue, the decision to turn one of the last corners of the Samar sand dunes into a quarry that would provide raw materials for Eilat apartments and local roads. Sand dunes used to be plentiful along Israel’s southern Arava but all major deposits have been mined for sand except for the Samar system. Studies by zoological researchers found astonishing diversity in the dune system including two hitherto undiscovered spider species, gerbils that were unknown in Israel and a rich abundance of mammals and reptiles.
Two thirds of the Samar sand dune cluster has already been mined. The Tal Fund in past years funded protest efforts by residents to cancel the tender for mining issued by the Israel Lands Authority, but the campaign proved unsuccessful. Minutes before mining began, public interest attorneys discovered flaws in the license issued to the quarrying company that created a legal opportunity which required an immediate decision to litigate. The legal action was supported by a Tal Fund emergency grant. The judge, initially hostile eventually became convinced that most of the sands had been illegally permitted for mining and dramatically limited the quantities that can be mined.
“Happening” at Samar Sand Dunes. Protesters kicking up sand. Surprise appearance by rare sand dune resident.
Addressing Groundwater Contamination from Gas Stations:
Recognized for many years as one of the most prevalent – and unregulated sources of water contamination, leaks from gas stations constitute the top priority for aquifer protection in Israel. The Bar Ilan Law Clinic, supported by the Tal Fund’s Lawyers for Israel initiative, filed a Supreme Court petition demanding information from the Environmental Ministry regarding the permeability of fuel containers in petrol station. The successful litigation led to monitoring that confirmed massive contamination in the Sharon region and constitutes the first public intervention to force government action in this critical area.
Leaking Tanks: Egregious groundwater contamination
A New Mandate for Coastal Protection:
Protecting Israel’s coast has been a top Tal Fund priority since its inception. Proposed legislation has been stalled that would prevent construction on beach front property in cases where building plans were approved over a decade ago, prior to the present 300 meter constraints placed on coastal development. These olds plans essentially are “grandfathered in” and need to be reevaluated. The 2014 grant to the Green Course student network supports their campaign to galvanize support for the new legislation – including a march from the northern tip of Israel’s Mediterranean Coast (Rosh HaNikra) to the south, vigils in front of the Minister of Interior’s house and a series of parliamentary educational initiatives.
"Gideon! Give us one reason to celebrate." Advertisement for Demonstration against Minister of Interior Gideon Saar’s Opposition to Coastal Protection.
Palmachim Beach: This 2012 conservation victory highlighted vulnerability of Israel’s coasts
to “old but not forgotten” development plans
Student Sit-in at site of Ashdod Construction: ”We are Stopping Grand Larceny in Ashdod”
Legal Aid to File Action against City for Inadequate Solid Waste Policies: Environmental infrastructure in Israel’s Arab sector is poorly developed relative to the rest of the country. When environmental activists in Qalansuwa set out to stop the dumping of garbage they needed basic information about the zoning of the illegal dump. A recalcitrant city administration was not interested in helping them – so they went to court to receive basic information. They were represented by attorneys from the Tel Aviv University Law School Clinic, and the court costs were covered by the Tal Fund.
Israel Energy Forum – Natural Gas from the Mediterranean – Yes! Unsustainable Extraction: No!
The Israel Energy Forum has emerged as the leading spokesperson for Israel’s environmental movement in the area of energy policy. The natural gas fields in the Mediterranean fields offer the country a remarkable opportunity to attain energy independence and reduce energy-related, air pollution emissions. But this resource must be managed responsibly for future generations – and without damage to the marine environment. A legal action filed in the Supreme Court by the Forum and a coalition of social organizations against government policies in this area received financial support from the Tal Fund.
Natural Gas in the Mediterranean: Not Just a Windfall: a Significant Environmental Challenge
Citizens Organize to Protect Tel Aviv’s Beach:
For many Tel Aviv residents and thousands of daily visitors, the beach is the last direct connection they have with a natural resource and open space. The city of Tel Aviv initiated an ambitious plan that would expand the area of the boardwalk and restaurants – essentially narrowing the spaces open to the public who wished to bathe, making access to many areas only available to those who wish (or can afford) to pay for beach chairs. A grassroots citizen campaign challenged the legality of the plan through pro bono legal assistance and found initial court support for its arguments that issued an injunction. The Tal Fund provided assistance to the organization’s public work and covered the operational costs of the citizen’s work.
Tel Aviv’s beach: Protecting public access to the sea and sand through the courts and the streets
Looking ahead to the coming year, the Tal Fund has identified several initiatives that it hopes to provide proactive support. Donations over 2000 dollars can be directed toward a selected project. These include:
The Legal Advocacy Initiative:
Israeli environmental organizations increasingly face challenges that require legal aid and litigation. This may involve court actions to enjoin projects that threaten to damage critical ecological or recreational sites, legal advice to prepare a municipal by-law or submission of a legal objection to a proposed development plan or anticipated hazard. The Legal Advocacy Initiative has two components: The first covers court costs, expert witnesses and other expenses associated with pro bono assistance by Israeli law firms to public interest plaintiffs. It also provides modest fees for young Israeli attorneys who assist these groups
The initiative also seeks to strengthen for Israel’s three active, “environmental law clinics at Sappir College, Tel Aviv and Bar Ilan University to support them and their students in their public interest legal work. These clinics are overseen by attorneys but rely on students for the legal research and preparation of the actual petitions and legal documents.
(Funding required: $100,000 - 4 year goal)
Law school clinics introduce a new generation of future attorneys to public interest, pro bono culture and bolster Israeli environmental activism in practice.
Negev Environmental Fellowships:
This project challenges Ben Gurion University graduates to undertake a variety of public interest work to improve the environmental quality in Israel’s southlands. The first pilot fellowship began in September 2012-13 leading to the establishment of a new community environmental group in Ofakim, The organization has started a community garden and initiated a series of bike trails and biking clubs for children in the community. Donations go to support future fellows and expand project to other Negev communities with environmental needs.
(Funding required: $30,000 x 2 year commitment)
The Ofakim Environmental Action Committee Founded as part of the Negev Fellowship.
The Product Stewardship Initiative:
This project would support a consortium that will bring Israeli environmental groups, the government and manufacturers together in an effort to reduce solid waste and make products more environmentally friendly. Working under the guidance of the American Product Stewardship Institute, the grant would enable Israeli advocacy organizations to engage local industry in a more cooperative and congenial framework. This approach has proven to be an effective model to break deadlocks and produce results.
(Required funding for seed grant: $65,000)
The Rahat Playground Initiative:
To provide playgrounds to Rahat, Israel’s largest Bedouin city, and the second largest in the Negev, whose citizens have access to little recreational resources and open spaces. After a successful pilot initiative, which created the city’s first playground, the JNF – Tal Fund is undertaking a partnership with the city and local residents which will change the landscape in this struggling community, and offer a constructive and promising framework for developing its open spaces in an ecologically and socially healthy manner.
(Funding Opportunities include playgrounds and parks of different sizes and types with $15,000, $20,000, $50,000 and $100,000 opportunities.)
First playground in the Bedouin city of Rahat was established thanks to a gift by the Washington-based Krupsky family, partnering with the Tal Fund.
Unless otherwise stipulated, donations to the Tal Fund’s support its core activities and its emergency response funding to organizations across Israel. Under a special agreement with JNF in the U.S. and KKL in Israel, no overhead is deducted from donations so that all support goes directly to assist the many campaigns and efforts by Israeli civil society to protect the environment in the land of Israel.
For more information write Liat Oshri, Coordinator or Professor Alon Tal, Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Listed are Tal Fund grants made prior to 2012:
(Recipient Organizations and the Activity Supported)
Citizens for the Galilee Advocacy
Enforcement efforts against polluters of Galilee Streams
Establishment of playground and open space beautification in Israel’s largest Bedouin city (and the country’s poorest municipality).
Modi’in Branch of SPNI
Campaign to study effects of anticipated doubling in size in size of city (scientific documentation of preservation priorities).
Citizens Committee to Save Timna
Music Disc Production for mass distribution of song by leading Israeli rock singers to support preserving Timna Park’s “Emeq Sasgon” from proposed hotel complex.
Coalition to Save Palmachim Beaches
Demonstration and general support to save Palmachim Beach.
After four years of support in, 2010 campaign succeeded.
Green Course (Student Network)
Campaign to support new air quality legislation. Due to vigorous public involvement the law passed, despite government hesitation.
The Neighborhood Committee For Railway Park (Jerusalem)
Rock Concert (Hadag Nachash) and rally to protect old railway lines instead of major highway artery proposed by the city.
The Forum for Saving the Nes Tsiona Iris Hills
Campaign to declare the last Iris Hill in the central region as a sanctuary. Activities supported included litigation, public awareness.
Tel Aviv Sustainable Transport Coalition
Campaign to promote new transportation strategy that emphasizes upgraded bus service and incentives for public transport users.
Eilat International Bird Center
Improving handicap accessibility for birding, educational activities
Ramos Citizens Committee
Successful legal action to stop building new neighborhood on Mitspeh Naftoah, major urban reserve and home to Jerusalem gazelle herd.
Green and Blue Association
Demonstration against illegal emissions by Carmel Chemical Corp. in Atlit (this event was the largest Israeli air pollution protest ever).
Life and Environment
Support for participation by representatives Israeli environmental Groups at the UN Climate Change Convention at Poznin, and in Copenhagen.
Ben Gurion University
Support for Climate Sensitive/Green Building Workshop.
Coalition to Save Habonim
Demonstration to prevent commercial development on Mediterranean beaches.
Campaign to support packaging law proposed legislation.
Ein Karem Community Action Committee
Support for legal action to preserve Jerusalem village character and stop massive development project.
“Healthy Arava” (SABABA)/Israel Union for Environmental Defense
Campaign to prevent mining of sand dunes in biodiversity hotspot. Emergency grant to cover court ordered deposit to enjoin quarrying.
Shomera for Environment (Jerusalem)
Campaign to protect Jerusalem Forest from development plans.
Arad Coalition Against Mining
Campaign to prevent mining of phosphates adjacent to the city of Arad due to concerns over health hazards associated with poor air quality.
Committee to Save Sasgon Valley
Support for recording and distribution of song by leading Israeli rock artists to preserve this pristine area adjacent to Timna park in Israel’s south-lands.
Hanaton Educational Center
Developing an innovative curriculum based on high school student activities highlighting the link between Jewish tradition and environmental protection.
Successful campaign to promote power plant in Ashkelon based on natural gas rather than high carbon-footprint coal.