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“All the Trees of the Forest: Israel’s Extraordinary Woodlands, from the Bible to the Present”

Prof. Alon Tal of Ben Gurion University is one of Israel’s leading environmental scholars and activists.

In an era when deforestation constitutes a paramount global challenge, Israel’s woodlands tell an extraordinary story. They carry the scars of past military invaders and conquests. But most of the trees in Israel’s forests are contemporary and represent an expression of recent national zeal to restore the woodlands of the Bible, making a harsh climate more hospitable. Drawing on insider anecdotes, Prof. Tal’s presentation describes how the trial and error process evolved that transformed drylands and degraded soils into flourishing parks, rangelands, and renewed ecosystems. The talk is part of a book tour presenting the first history of Israel’s forest to be published in over forty years.

Professor Alon Tal teaches at Ben Gurion University and is currently a visiting scholar at Stanford University. Prof. Tal founded the Israel Union for Environmental Defense, Israel’s leading green advocacy organization, and the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, a regional center for Arabs and Israelis. Between 2010 and 2013 he served as chair of Israel’s Green Party. Haaretz newspaper selected him as the country’s most effective environmental leader and Israel’s Ministry of Environment gave him a lifetime achievement award at age 48. In 2005 he was the winner of the prestigious Bronfman prize, a humanitarian award for young Jewish leaders.

Prof. Tal’s talk at UW is co-sponsored by Stroum Center for Jewish Studies, Temple Beth Am, UW Division of Spanish & Portuguese Studies, and Latin and Caribbean Studies at the Jackson School of International Studies.