Pollution in a Promised Land: An Environmental History of Israel

Pollution in a Promised Land: An Environmental History of Israel

Pollution in a Promised Land: An Environmental History of Israel

Pollution in a Promised Land: An Environmental History of Israel


"This book is likely to become "the future point of reference for scholarship on environmental issues in Israel. Tal combines his extensive inside knowledge with broad and thorough research to take the reader clearly through a complex fabric of personalities, organizations, and issues."--Stuart Schoenfeld, York University

"This is truly an excellent book. It is the first treatment of the whole array of environmental issues in Israel, and in its historical context - an absolute necessity. Extremely well-written and in fact hard to put down, this book is useful on many levels, for United Nations Agencies and development officials, Israeli and Palestinian government officials, and environmentalists and teachers around the world."--Brock Evans, Executive Director, The Endangered Species Coalition and author of many articles and books on the politics of the environment

""Pollution in a Promised Land is an innovative book, and an important one, by perhaps the most prominent environmental activist in Israel. Tal's approach is to take an "eagle's eye view" of his vast subject, now gliding far above, providing overview, now swooping down very close and, through interviews or anecdotes, describing his subject with great immediacy and in memorable detail."--Noah J. Efron, Bar Ilan University

"Anyone who cares about the land of Israel should read "Pollution in a Promised Land. It is critical to understanding the social, political, and scientific dimensions of the country's environmental challenges as well as the country's remarkable ecological achievements. Alon Tal is uniquely qualified to present this fascinating and dramatic environmental history."--Tzachi Hanegbi, Minister of theEnvironment, Israel


On a technical level, I have been preparing this book for the past five years. in fact, the project represents the culmination of some eighteen years of work in the field of environmental protection in Israel. By training and trade I am not a historian. Yet, I hope that Pollution in a Promised Land offers a fair, engaging, and well-documented description of Israel's environmental experience.

On a subject this broad, I am well aware of the highly selective nature of the editorial process. There are large areas about which I might have written and did not. For example, regional environmental issues are not reviewed in great detail because I believe they have been of limited historical importance. Issues such as radiation, hazardous materials, noise, and consumption may be underrepresented. and a future edition will certainly have to discuss the growing concern about cellular phone technologies and antennas. a recurring theme in the book is that limited space forces hard choices. the text would undoubtedly look quite different if it had been written by someone who had worked for industry for the past two decades or grown up as a Bedouin in the Negev.

It is well to set my biases on the table at the outset for readers so they can weigh the perspective of the narrator as they read this story. Two personal and professional passions informed almost every stage of writing. the first, my “green” bias, was probably formed somewhere between the friendly woods of North Carolina and many dinner table conversations with my family as I was growing up, the son of an analytical chemist with an expertise in pollution monitoring, who cared about his work. This perspective crystallized during the course of work in government environmental agencies in Israel and the United States and more recently in public-interest environmental advocacy. As an environmentalist, I am concerned that human beings today are . . .

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