JNF aims to paint Beersheva green

SINCE the Jewish National Fund (JNF) was founded in 1901, the organisation has planted more than 240 million trees in Israel.

On February 3, JNF volunteers across Australia will be making calls to try and raise $500,000 to plant more trees in Israel and to create a “green belt” around Beersheva.

The green belt will consist of more than 150,000 trees on 400 hectares to develop the Negev’s sustainability and improve the environment for future generations.

JNF national president Michael Naphtali said the organisation has been crucial to the evolution of Israel for the past 100 years and will stay relevant through initiatives like Green Sunday. “While we often think about Sydney and Melbourne, events like Green Sunday are as important in the smaller [less populous] states because, although the numbers are smaller, it allows people to come together for a communal event,” Naphtali said.

Naphtali, who will be stepping down as president at the end of the year, said JNF has never had focus groups or polling to stay relevant because it has a simple message.

“JNF has tapped into what is important: Israel’s survival and Jewish continuity, and I think Green Sunday is a great event that combines both.”

JNF NSW vice-president Alan Greenstein said he is hoping 2013 will be another successful year of fundraising. “Our Green Sunday campaign has been running for more than 20 years, and we are very excited that a broad section of the community is involved, including schools, youth groups and the wider community.”

JNF Victoria president Simone Szalmuk-Singer said Green Sunday provides a wonderful opportunity for the community in Australia to celebrate Tu b’Shevat in a very practical way by partnering with communities in the Negev. “Donations raised will go to planting trees in the region around Beersheva, an area recently under missile attack,” Szalmuk-Singer said.

“The trees will provide an array of vital green and recreational benefits for the surrounding area.”

To volunteer for Green Sunday, go to www.jnf.org.au.

JOSHUA LEVI

Volunteers at a previous Green Sunday.