Speaking of balance, I am happy to update this post with some excellent news. Last month, the Minhal MiKarka'ay Yisrael (Israel Land Administration) reconsidered its original decision, according to which moshavim and kibbutzim would have been charged for using their land to install solar collectors, and will now allow them to place solar collector panels on up to ten percent of their property, without paying charges or penalties. According to one of our local community publications,
... During its last meeting, the Administration board decided that there is an urgent need to encourage the establishment of alternative enterprises to produce electricity and renewable energy. The board backed its decision by citing the rising price of fuel and electricity, and the growing awareness of the need to preserve the environment.
I see this as an important and encouraging step forward, on two fronts: The decision itself shows foresight and stays in step with recent national developments encouraging the development of alternative energy sources, a process we, as a country, cannot afford to hinder in any way. This link, in Hebrew, outlines the historic June 2008 decision to allow private individuals to sell electricity back to the grid. A synopsis in English is available here, c/o Good News from Israel.
More importantly, by reversing its original, flawed decision, the Minhal is demonstrating flexibility in its willingness to support the ability of the kibbutzim and moshavim to continue to use their primary resource, land, for the good of the entire country.
Historically, decisions akin to this one meant that to encourage agricultural production for the whole of the nation, the kibbutzim were granted large portions of a limited resource, water, at a reduced price. As a result they were able to feed the country, as well as providing top-notch produce for export, but over the years many of them became sloppy in their water usage and wasted an embarrassing amount of it.
As I see it, the Minhal's decision now provides a correction of past wastefulness, as it allows the kibbutzim and moshavim to take full advantage of a natural resource, solar energy, that doesn't seem to be running out any time soon. No oil, not nearly enough rain, but sun? It's the one thing we've got plenty of...
מועדים לשמחה -- Have a wonderful Sukkot.
Keep the balance,