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There is an exceptionally high percentage of immigrants in Israel, in particular from North America, who have heeded the call for societal in-volvement.[44] Their disproportionate participation on behalf of various causes has led to occasional stereotyping. Referring to the heavy American presence in West Bank settlements, one real estate developer sniped that Americans who come to Israel either move to Hebron or join environ-mental groups such as Adam Teva V'din.[45] It was true that for the first half of the 1990s, all of the environmental law courses at Israeli universities

were taught by American-Israelis. The campaign for clean air by Haifa res-idents is an exceptionally successful case of community activism. Not sur-prisingly it was spearheaded by an American-Israeli.

When she moved to Israel in 1982, nothing would have led Lynn Golumbic to think she was about to become an environmental leader. She and her husband Marty brought their daughters to Haifa from New Jersey. They both focused on their jobs at IBM—he as a mathematician and she as a marketing specialist. Golumbic recalls that their small apart-ment at the Absorption Center north of the city faced Haifa. During the autumn season, when the ventilating winds dissipated, they could see a black cloud sitting on the Carmel hills. They could also feel the pollution. Marty Golumbic immediately developed respiratory problems and had difficulty sleeping; the doctors told him he had asthma. Lynn had always had allergies, but three years later these too blossomed into asthma. When their fourth daughter, Adina, joined her sisters in showing similar symp-toms, they knew that the cause could be found in Haifa's air.[46]

Initially, Golumbic was too absorbed in the day-to-day exigencies of adapting to a new country, meeting professional challenges, and raising a family of six to explore the air pollution issue.[47] She did, however, become a member in the local branch of the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI), an immigrant support group, and a 1987 ma-ternity leave gave her the time to become more active. By chance she took a phone call in the AACI Haifa office from a newly formed grassroots group: ENZA—Citizens against Air Pollution.

ENZA was founded a year earlier by a group of disgruntled SPNI ac-tivists in Haifa, who felt that the nature organization did not devote suffi-cient attention to the city's air quality. Those were the days when Haifa's sulfur dioxide levels reached perilously high levels—two and three times above the legal ceiling.[48] Golumbic was sufficiently impressed with the presentation of the ENZA volunteers that she wrote an article about Haifa's air pollution for the AACI newsletter. Overnight it turned her into the group's resident environmental expert.[49]

Although there were two thousand factories in Haifa Bay, the lion's share of the sulfur dioxide came from the giant oil refineries and the power plant. The Israel Electric Company cooperated with the Environmental Protection Service, but the Haifa Oil Refineries took a more defiant line. Moshe Shachal, as Minister of Energy, was responsible for the refineries. He was also a Haifa resident. The ENZA activists organized a rally in front of his home and called on Golumbic to bring along her American troops. Upon their arrival, the environmentalists were stunned to discover that

they were a minority. The oil refineries had bused in their workers to or-ganize a counterdemonstration. The workers had come to take on the Green zealots who, they believed, had come to close down their company.[50] It was not clear whether the disinformation was intentional or not. Golumbic convinced the workers that she and her fifty environmental demonstrators had not come to demolish their factory but to improve air quality for all of their children. They were so impressed with her that they lent her their megaphone and allowed her to address the crowd.[51]

Exhaustive discussions with experts and a review of scientific literature confirmed empirically what Golumbic had sensed intuitively for some time. Haifa's air was making her family sick. A 1989 survey of Haifa's schoolchildren by the Ministry of the Environment statistically confirmed significantly impaired lung function among people residing in areas of the city with relatively high levels of exposure.[52] Eventually sulfur dioxide levels were printed in the daily press, and health warnings were issued for people with respiratory problems, advising them to stay indoors. Golumbic claims that she always knew when a pollution episode hit the city anyway, because the school would call to have her take one or another of her girls home. During the Gulf War, when Haifa became a target for Saddam Hussein's Scuds, Golumbic's asthmatic children gasped under their gas masks. For her, motivation was never a problem.

The salient issue on the local activists' agenda soon became the location of a new power plant. Israel needed to augment its energy production, and the powerful Haifa branch of the electric company's union wanted the fa-cility expanded and the additional jobs. The environmentalists argued that Haifa already had the most polluted air in Israel, and that the power plant in Hadera, fifty kilometers south, offered a more logical location. Proponents, including Minister of Energy Moshe Shachal and Haifa Mayor Ariyeh Gurel, countered that a new Haifa station would somehow be different from the existing polluting plant.[53] This time they would de-mand scrubbers and other emissions control technologies.[54] The decision was formally in the hands of the National Planning Council, a conglomer-ation of diverse governmental and nongovernmental interests.

When ENZA activists began to squabble among themselves, Golumbic took the lead and forged a coalition with Shoshi Perry, who ran the SPNI's Haifa branch. They distributed bumper stickers whose slogan soon became ubiquitous throughout the city: “Air Pollution Is Destroying the City.” The year 1988 was an election year. Golumbic made sure to plant envi-ronmental activists at every political meeting where candidates appeared to lobby against the Haifa option. Radio talk shows were also targeted. It

seemed that every time the Minister of Energy came home to Haifa from Jerusalem he was greeted by a demonstration. Booklets about air quality were published and were distributed in the schools. Research by Haifa University economist Motti Shechter translated the costs of Haifa's air pollution into monetary terms of over twenty million dollars. His study provided another advocacy tool. And forty thousand people signed a peti-tion promoted by the environmental coalition.[55]

The environmental effort was not without opposition. Haifa Mayor Ariyeh Gurel was openly prodevelopment but feared that the pollution issue would hurt him politically. When Gurel canceled a permit at the last minute, Golumbic had to postpone an air quality demonstration complete with pop singer Arik Sinai. The headlines about the mysterious cancella-tion were much more damaging to the mayor than the rally would have been. In a classic move of co-optation, Gurel did an about-face and offered a seat on his ruling Labor Party's City Council list to an environmental representative. Technion medical professor Noam Gavrielli was happy to answer the call. An expert in respiratory physiology, Gavrielli had been a particularly valuable member of ENZA. The mayor was disappointed when the environmental coalition still chose not to work actively on his behalf. Although ENZA claimed that it was politically neutral, Golumbic admits that its hesitancy to join the political campaign also was driven by a classic activist fear: It might reveal the thinness of their actual numbers. Once elected to the City Council, the energetic Gavrielli was appointed chairman of the Haifa-area Environmental Protection Union; he served in this position for nine years, a significant environmental achievement in its own right.

But the most significant victory came when Hadera was selected over Haifa as the site for the expanded power plant. This would have been in-conceivable even a year earlier.[56] The Israel Electric Company did not seem to be overly upset by the turnaround. Along with the Haifa Oil Refineries, it protested the politicization of the environmental issue, claiming that this turned pollution from a technical question into a motherhood and apple pie issue. Acknowledging that their plants were not a “rose garden,” they asked rhetorically, “How much is the State willing to invest in clean air?”[57] With the millions of shekels in past profits and a functional monopoly, the question was a little disingenuous. Yet after the Haifa campaign, the an-swer was clearly, “A lot more than it was in the past.”

Golumbic continued her environmental activities for another three years. In this capacity she participated in a suit in local court against the oil refineries and in Supreme Court litigation that hastened tougher emissions

standards. But with time she began to lose steam. The time demands became prohibitive. At the same time, Haifa's air was also significantly cleaner; instances of sulfur dioxide rates that were above the ambient stan-dard became increasingly rare, and her family became healthier. It was time to move on. In retrospect she feels that the Haifa campaign made a national contribution. Certainly, air quality in Ashdod benefited as its oil refineries and electric plant ratcheted emissions down to the new standard set in Haifa.

The best indication of both Golumbic's and Benyamin's relative contri-bution is their organizational epilogues. No sooner did they bow out than both EcoNet and ENZA essentially closed up shop. The finite financial re-sources, attention spans, and energies of volunteer activists have always been an obstacle to environmental progress. Professionalization, salaries, and support staff can extend an activist's life cycle but often take the joy out of the cause. When a new environmental group sought advice from veteran environmental reporter Elli El Ad, he distilled his message down to one word: “Persist.” Golumbic and Benyamin did so long enough for Israel to benefit from their efforts.

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