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Contact: Jodi Bodner
JNF Director of Communications
212-879-9305 Ext. 221

Israel Postpones Clean up Day out of Respect for Ramadan

September 20, 2007 -- New York, NY -- The internationally proclaimed "Clean up the World" Day scheduled to take place September 18 in 120 countries around the world was postponed in Israel out of respect for the period of Ramadan and rescheduled for Sunday October 22, 2007.

Jewish National Fund (JNF), the organization responsible for "Clean up the World" Day in Israel for the seventh year in a row, responded to requests made by Moslem participants to postpone the day's events until after the month of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha.

The postponement was approved by the "Clean up the World" Day headquarters in Australia.

Within the international framework of "Clean up the World" Day, some 40 million people from 120 nations head out to clean their nations' cities, beaches, forests and open spaces. The event was born in 1989 by an Australian man who had a simple desire to make a difference in his own backyard -- Sydney Harbour.

An avid sailor, Ian Kiernan had always dreamed of sailing around the world. In 1987 he competed in the BOC Challenge solo around-the-world yacht race. As he sailed through the oceans of the world he was shocked and disgusted by the pollution and rubbish that he encountered.

The polluted state of the world's oceans motivated him to act. Once back in Sydney, Ian enlisted the help of his friends and focused on his goal.

Clean Up Sydney Harbour Day in 1989 received an enormous public response with more than 40,000 Sydneysiders donating their time and energy to clean up the harbor. The next year Clean Up Australia Day was born with 300,000 volunteers turning out for the inaugural event. Then, after gaining the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Clean Up the World was launched in 1993. In its inaugural year, Clean Up the World involved approximately 30 million people in 80 countries.

Since then, it has evolved into an organization that brings together businesses, community groups, schools and individuals in a range of activities and programs that positively improve local environments. It is a community-based environmental campaign that inspires and empowers individuals and communities from every corner of the globe to clean up, fix up and preserve their environment.

Seven years ago, JNF launched the program in Israel by organizing more than 1,500 students and 200 soldiers to work side by side and clean up the Be'er Sheva River. Subsequent years included a clean-up of the Mitzpeh Ramon crater using huge cranes and hundreds of volunteers to lift hundreds of pounds of waste to the surface for removal.

Last year's clean up day was the country's largest environmental campaign ever with over 100,000 Israelis from dozens of communities and organizations participating across the country. The outpouring of support and overwhelming participation was widespread and crossed both national and religious boundaries with participants from the Jewish secular, religious and ultra-Orthodox sectors as well as Moslems, Christians, Druze, Bedouins and veteran Israelis, new immigrants, urban neighborhoods and established rural communities.

This year, thanks to a contribution made by JNF of America, activities will be expanded to include areas in the Negev Desert region. Last year, over 25,000 Moslem citizens participated in the campaign; 20,000 were Bedouin from the Negev. JNF expects over 150,000 individuals to participate in Israel's clean up campaign this year, including about 40,000 Bedouin.

For the first time ever in Israel, environmentally-friendly trash bags will be used this year. They are manufactured from organic materials (corn) and will decompose after only a brief period of time.

Caring for the environment is a priority for JNF and as such has recently launched JNF Go Neutral: An Environmental Movement for Tomorrow. Judaism teaches that we are stewards of this earth, with a unique responsibility to preserve and sustain it. As Israel's oldest environmental organization, JNF is taking the lead in educating individuals about their impact on the environment and what they can do to help curb climate change. Visit www.jnf.org/goneutral to calculate your carbon footprint, plant trees in Israel to offset your emissions, and support's JNF's cutting-edge ecological work.

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Jewish National Fund (JNF) began in 1901 collecting coins in blue boxes to purchase land and return the Jewish people to their homeland. In over 106 years, JNF has evolved into a global environmental leader and become the central address for the land and people of Israel. JNF has planted 240 million trees. Built over 1,000 parks and recreational areas. Constructed security roads. Educated students around the world about Israel. Created new communities so that Jews from around the world would have a place to call home. Discovered drip irrigation and new means of growing plants under arid conditions, bringing green to the desert. Built over 190 reservoirs and water recycling centers, increasing Israel's water supply by 10%.

As a United Nations NGO, JNF sponsors international conferences on desertification, shares afforestation techniques and funds research on arid land management. Is restoring northern Israel, making it home again to its residents. Is supporting Israel's newest generation of pioneers by developing the Negev Desert, Israel's last frontier. For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit http://www.jnf.org/. JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.

 

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