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100 Years of Green in Israel

By Linda Tancs

Israel’s Ministry of Tourism website says that “Israel is one of two countries on earth that has more trees today than it did 100 years ago.” That may seem surprising to those familiar with the Jerusalem hills, populated with natural forests, terraced hillsides and ancient agricultural settlements. Yet four centuries of Ottoman rule resulted in millions of trees cut down because property taxes were calculated by the number of trees owned by landowners. Now Israel celebrates its greening by promoting a host of eco-tourism activities. Visiting a Kibbutz is a classic way to experience the earliest impetus towards green living. Another highlight of green Israel is The Ariel Sharon Ayalon Park, a metropolitan park boasting tropical gardens located just outside of Tel Aviv, formerly the 2,000-acre Hiriya garbage dump. You can explore the city’s tree-lined boulevards by bicycle (another eco-friendly act) or camel trek through the wilderness to a quiet evening in a goat-hair Bedouin tent. Whatever you decide, a carbon-reduced date with history awaits you.

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