The Hula Valley Wildlife Birdwatching Nature Preserve Desperate Attempt to Make Israel Green and Welcoming and Lush: early Zionists drained the native marshlands to make the land arable, realized they f***ed up, and tried to reconstitute the marsh, so you can go look at birds. But that’s okay, because now you can see a heron in Israel.
It was sort of vague and unclear as to whether we were supposed to pay an admissions fee – we didn’t. But a sign on the door and again on the tour-ticket window asked for a 3 NIS donation per person to support the crane project…and the JNF. Oh, JNF. You wily old bastards. You make yourselves seem all friendly and green and nice, trying to save the environment and plant trees where there should be no trees (like in the desert…seriously guys?) and on other people’s private property. Private. Property. And you do it on behalf of me! Me! And every other unsuspecting nice Jewish girl and boy who has a bar or bat mitzvah and some well-meaning but not-entirely-completely-informed relative donates a tree in Israel in your name. A tree of life, or a tree of appropriation? Seeing that sign made me want to go hunt down all the “Audrey Farber” trees and dig them up. Take that, JNF! As if there are little plaques denoting which trees are mine. Too easy, too easy.
Also, I want someone to explain to me how it is that the JNF and not the Israeli government is accepting payments at an Israeli National Park. Isn’t that the job of the park service? The JNF is headquartered in New York. Not Israel. Would we be okay with it if a non-American non-governmental organization was accepting admissions fees at our National Parks, parks which our tax dollars (should) go to support?