Flower Power: Israel's Gilboa Iris Blocks Construction Plans

Israel is a tiny, tiny country. Living inside it is an incredible variety of people from the West and the East. Although the environmental movement is not as developed as it is in Europe or the US, there is a growing trend for young Israelis to build or at least talk about building intentional communities that focus on green living. The news that a new ecological community close to the Sea of Galilee to be called Michal was halted in its early stages of development made headlines. It wasn't because the establishment in Israel- riddled with painfully-slow bureaucratic policies- were against green initiatives. The opposite. The National Planning and Building Council rejected the plan because the new village threatens a national treasure- the rare Gilboa Iris. ::GlobesAccording to Globes, the struggle against the establishment of the Michal communal village became a symbol for the preservation of nature in Israel. Go Flower Power!

"The Beit Shean Valley Regional Council initiated plans for Michal, which was designed as an ecological village. When the plan for Michal was deposited for public comment in March 2005, 700 objections were filed against it by environmental organizations and local residents. As a result of large number of objections, the National Planning Board appointed an investigator, who concluded that Michal should not be built.

The opponents argued that no new community should be built, however ecologically friendly it purported to be, precisely in the only place on earth where the protected Gilboa Iris grows.

The opponents also argued that a new communal village in the area would harm existing communities, including Maale Gilboa, Nurit, and the Malkishua Drug Rehabilitation Center. The Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority initially supported the establishment of Michal as a way to protect other parts of Mt. Gilboa. However, it changed its mind after conducting a survey of irises in the area." ::Globes ::More in Haaretz