2012 Marks the ninth year that green globes have been awarded to Israel’s most sustainable movers and shakers, and a small Arab school northeast of Tel Aviv is among this year’s nine recipients. Located in Kafr Qasim, the Alzahraa school has not only established an ecological garden and solar station in their own school, but the headmaster Safwat Tahah told Jerusalem Post that they are particularly proud of engaging with the surrounding community to raise the specter of environmental issues.
Organized by Life and Environment, an umbrella organization that acts on behalf of Israel’s numerous green organizations, the prize ceremony was held this weekend at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
Both the Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan and Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai were present.
Executive Director Naor Yerushalmi told the paper that last year’s tent protests, during which hundreds of thousands of Israelis camped out in downtown Tel Aviv to protest against the country’s mushrooming cost of living, demonstrated that social and environmental justice go hand and hand.
Meanwhile, Tahah claims that the award his school received belongs to the entire community, and emphasized that the role that learning institutions play in leading change.
In the past few years, 18 out of the school’s 55 teachers have received environmental education, which has been passed on to its 850 students. Many of these are from Bedouin families who moved from Israel’s southern desert region. Located along the green line, Kafr Qasim has shaken off a troubled past and become a leader in sustainable development.
Palestinians and Israeli-Arabs are regularly accused of lacking environmental sensibility, but attitudes are changing, and schools like this one are leading the way. Recognition for their achievements from a well-respected Israeli institution makes their progress even more noteworthy.
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