Israel Must Join the Jewish World and Go Green

The Jews are joining the green movement - put out a Hanukkah candle and save the planet.

So far there has been no official announcement: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may or may not travel to the Climate Conference in Copenhagen, but what does it really matter?

Israel is a small country and its carbon footprint on the planet is minor - less than one thousandth of total emissions.

And it is fair to assume that in the Danish capital they are not preoccupied with the question from Hamlet - will he or won't he come.

Even though for a small country Israel is a large polluter, and if other countries polluted like it, the world would go back to its primordial state; nonetheless, Israel is not at the center of the conference, as Netanyahu would have liked to think - and neither is he.

In any case, an environmental message will not be what Netanyahu has to say. Moreover, Israel has no intention of cutting its carbon dioxide emissions on the basis of the timetable that will be decided there - which is more or less binding - but it intends to increase its emissions, perhaps even multiply them, in the next 20 years.

The most that Netanyahu would do was reiterate the same announcement he made a month ago at the President's Conference, on the establishment of a committee expected to reveal to the entire world in a decade what the entire world has not managed to uncover, in spite its efforts: how to free ourselves from the fateful dependence on finite energy sources. It will discover how we can finally breath a sigh of relief with the help of renewable energy; and how the cows, sheep and other beasts will finally shake off their obscene addiction - to pass gas natural-but-poisonous gases without any limit. At hearing, again, the news of salvation of the Israeli Prime Minister, the entire hall, the entire world, will laugh; Top of the morning, Mr. Netanyahu.

Israel is, on the one hand, a strange country, and on the other side it is a very strange country. It is at the gates of the OECD, asking to be a member of the developed countries' club, but also pretends it is still developing; it is consciously slipping in its overall effort to save the planet from the effects of global warming, but also expects to receive preferential treatment.

The impression is that the international community is increasingly losing patience with our double dealings on all levels. Environmentally-conscious Israel is in its fetal stage. While awareness is developing here like a pregnancy, it is taking too long to reach term. The signs are there but there is no genuine willingness to complete it. Capital interests still have the upper hand in most instances in which there is a clash between greed and future welfare.

Lately I had been looking for the Jewish and the Israeli angle in Thomas Friedman's book, "Hot, Flat and Crowded." He is talking, with no little irony, about a group of Israeli environmentalists who began an internet-based campaign to encourage Jews to light one less candle during Hanukkah.

The group argues that every candle that burns to its end releases 15 grams of carbon dioxide, adding to the kosher pollution fingerprint of Jews in the world.

Thus the Jews are joining the green movement - put out a candle and save the planet.