Supermodels, Free Parking, Biblical Parchments All Part of Israel's Zany Solutions for Combatting Water Shortage

bar refaeli water photo
Israel has officially pulled out all the stops for water conservation: Last month, Israeli officials led by Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon sought to combat the country’s urgent water crisis by changing all the mezuzot in the Water Authority offices (Jews traditionally affix a mezuzah, a piece of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah, to their doorframes).

This month, Israeli is enlisting a different kind of help entirely!  The Water Authority has recruited internationally renowned super-model Bar Refaeli to help educate the public about Israel’s water crisis.  Refaeli, fresh off the cover page of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, will participate in an ad campaign to increase awareness and encourage water conservation practices.

A similar campaign, featuring actress Renana Raz with the slogan “Israel is drying up,” was found to significantly reduce water consumption in only a few months. (See the video below, in Hebrew)

But that’s not all!  Tel Aviv, ever the Israeli capital of All Things Trendy, has jumped on the water-saving bandwagon as well.  In an effort to reduce municipal water consumption, the city has introduced a series of measures like canceling the annual planting of 800,000 flowers, installing dry-composting toilets in the municipality building, and distributing four-minute shower timers to city residents.

The city has also announced a competition in which the household that consumes the least amount of water per person will win free parking for a year.  This is a major incentive for many Tel Aviv residents, since this city also tends to be the capital of Too Many Cars and Not Enough Parking.  (Although this approach may prove to be effective because of the high demand for city parking, I find it a little ironic.  Isn’t this basically swapping one environmental problem for another?).

In any case, even if some of these strategies make us chuckle, it’s good to hear that Israelis are seeking creative solutions to the country’s worst water crisis in 80 years.


:: Ynetnews; Ynetnews; Ynetnews

Image: tanakawho; Israel Water Authority, uploaded by israelicommercials

More Prophecies on water crisis and conservation in Israel:
Rishon LeZiyyon: “First in Zion” for water independence?

Israel’s Water Levels Go From Red to Black

6 Tips for Conserving Water in Israel and the Middle East

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11 thoughts on “Supermodels, Free Parking, Biblical Parchments All Part of Israel's Zany Solutions for Combatting Water Shortage”

  1. Jamie says:

    That’s pretty sad that they need to resort to this to get people interested in what conservation. However, this does really work, well then it should be expanded to other projects both green and perhaps even address the insane driving habits of all here. J

  2. Maurice says:

    All I can do is “read the menu” at present.

  3. Jeff says:

    Maurice, at this point, given the water crisis, anything helps. And since Bar Rafaelli comes along with Leonardo DiCaprio, it means that big names are now working on big issues. Now we just need another supermodel to convince the government to stop subsidizing water at ridiculous rates for agriculture.

  4. She’s mouth-watering, I guess, to some guys… 🙂

  5. Maurice says:

    Just what the hell does Bar Rafelli have to do with water anyway?

  6. I think offering free parking to save water is just example in Israel that shows how silly it is to have non-experts making green campaigns. Ridiculous.

  7. Danielle J says:

    Great post. I hope to see a new campaign in the near future “Save water, shower in numbers!”

  8. I agree! I don’t think that one parking spot will have a big impact on the environment. But since traffic congestion and air pollution are such big environmental problems in Tel Aviv, I just find the symbolic value of this contest to be ironic (and a little amusing).

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  10. The link “free parking for a year” from Ynet is broken.
    I can’t see how that contest can be judged. People who work or travel a lot use much less water than others, not to mention those that live with a boy- or girlfriend most of the time. That being said one free parking spot is a good incentive and not a big drain on the environment, although it might have been nice to choose something else.

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