The Beautiful Land Initiative is an environmental stewardship organization based near the Sea of Galilee dedicated to solving the litter problem in Israel. At any given location, whether holy or common, high places or recreational areas, highways or by-ways, you will come across copious amounts of litter along the way and most likely at your destination. Our mission is to coordinate with tour groups, volunteers, organizations, businesses, and ministries in Israel and abroad to unite to clean up litter in Israel.
The vision of The BLI is to lead by example to bring about a paradigm shift within the culture and across the nation regarding how we deal with litter in Israel.
In Leviticus 25:23, God makes an astonishing statement about the physical land of Israel. He says, “The Land is Mine.” When God gave the Land of Israel to Abraham in Genesis 12:7 He said, “To your descendants, I will give this Land.” It is the inheritance of God’s people to steward the land of Israel, His possession. Finally, in Deuteronomy 11:12 Israel is declared to be “a land that the Lord your God cares for. The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.”
Help us restore beauty to Israel as well as create and foster a cultural attitude of respect and care for the Land and the people. To get behind the BLI and become a part of this story, join us on the ground in Israel or contribute financially to fuel the ongoing efforts and projects of the initiative.
Back in 2006, I was 19 years old and I had been hiking through the forest on Mt. Carmel. I came to a point where I was pretty close to a neighboring village and as I went on, I began noticing the smell of garbage. That dumpster smell. Pretty soon I found the source at a clearing in the woods with a dirt road that led back to the village. The entire clearing was a mound of garbage the size of a large house. This unmarked spot in the woods had been transformed into the local dumping ground and as it turns out, unofficial dumping sites are very common in Israel. It has been in my heart since that day to play a role in solving the litter problem in Israel. Upon my return to Israel, 10 years later, I realized the litter situation had not changed. I knew it was time to start the Beautiful Land Initiative (The BLI) and be a part of the solution to clean up Israel and beautify the Holy Land.
Why littering in Israel is happening at this level is one question, but the greater question is “how is it going to change?” At the rate things are going we don’t foresee much change in the short term if any. Again, it doesn’t really matter where you are in Israel. Litter is going to catch your eye. That’s where The Beautiful Land Initiative comes in.
We did our first cleanup in September of 2015 on one of the western shores of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) by the city of Tiberias. Israel is filled with breathtaking landscapes. The Kinneret and its surroundings comprise a space immortalized by time and religion and rank it as one of the most beautiful places in the small country of Israel. Tiberias is also one of the four Holy Cities in Israel alongside Jerusalem, Hebron, and Safed (Tzfat). But there is another reputation that Tiberias has (and is shared, I might add, by many Israeli cities), and that is a reputation for severe littering. During the fall feasts, Israelis pour in by the tens of thousands to camp on the shores of the Kinneret. In the wake of the Holy Days… litter by the tons. This should not be so. That is why we’ve chosen to start here. The goal of our first campaign (Dawn in the Galilee) is to make Tiberias and the beaches of the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) litter-free zones. This is just the start. We are mobilizing tour groups, volunteers and international organizations in and out of Israel to play a key role in this colossal task. It’s not just about the initial clean-up campaigns, It’s also the ongoing effort to set a standard in the culture for the way we choose to deal with litter through online media and educational resources. The good news is this, the litter problem in Israel can be solved and has already begun.
Founder, The BLI
Earlier we mentioned that we did our first BLI Cleanup in Tiberias and it was a great success. We brought together a group of over 60 individuals from 5 different nations who have a heart for Israel and the environment. We only had an hour with the group but the impact was enormous. Over the course of the hour, we had about 20 locals ask us what we were doing and why (creating awareness). Upon hearing the various reasons we had as a mixed group the consensus was great appreciation for The BLI. We collected over 45 large bags, each weighing an estimated 5-7 kilo. Several of the people who were at the beach for a swim even joined us in picking up and carrying the garbage bags away to the nearest city dumpster. The BLI has had a contagious effect in every outing. The fact is, Israelis want this. We have been going out every week since September connecting with groups and volunteers picking up litter. Our approach is to care for the well-being of the people and Land of Israel.