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Zalul in the News: Renowned Israeli Philanthropist Morris Kahn

December 24, 2007

From Globes Magazine:

Kahn’s environmental campaigns began at the end of the 1990s. His son, Benjamin, who was recently named by “Time” magazine as one of its “Heroes of the Environment,” along with Nobel peace prize laureate, former US Vice President Al Gore, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Prince Charles, returned to Israel after spending 15 years building underwater observatories along the coral reefs off the coasts of Australia and Hawaii. Sometime after his return, he went diving in Eilat, and told his father what he saw afterward. “Do you remember the wonderful reef?” he asked him. “It’s almost gone.”

Kahn, who some years earlier built the underwater observatory in Eilat, got on the phone to then Ministry of the Environment director general Nehama Ronen. After this conversation he decided to set up Zalul, a non-profit organization that would fight to remove pollutants from the Red Sea. Chief among the perpetrators were by the fish cages operated by Dagsuf and Ardag Red Sea Mariculture Ltd., both companies that belonging to kibbutzim in the Arava region. Later the Kahn family joined forces with the Society for the Protection of Nature, and the other environmental groups. The fish farming companies hit back with intensive political lobbying, and tried to paint Kahn as someone whose actions were driven by his real estate business interests.

The saga, as is known, came to an end recently with a ruling by the relevant government authorities and the courts that the fish cages must be cleared from the Red Sea by mid-2008. After a campaign lasting 15 years, this is a rare victory for green organizations in Israel.

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