JNF works for far more than land claims

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “Davenport’s contentious JNF honour”
Mar. 25, 2008

To the editor:
Thank you for such a one-sided representation of what the Jewish National Fund does as an organization.

Within Canada, the JNF serves as a tie between the Canadian Jewish community and those living in Israel.

At its inception, the JNF primarily concerned itself with acquiring land for Jewish immigrants to the Holy Land. However, the goals and actions of the organization have shifted greatly in past decades.

Any Canadian who has dealt with the JNF will immediately think of the significant environmental and social impact the organization has had. The JNF has planted over 110 million trees in Israel and has led the development of a forest and fruit industry in the previously barren Negev desert.

As well, the JNF has developed expansive water conservation resources to compensate for the fact Israeli water consumption has jumped 50 per cent in the last 10 years, while average rainfall has dropped considerably.

Socially, the JNF provides funds for education, parks and recreation facilities and economic development, providing an important boost to a nation that unfortunately must reserve a massive portion of its budget for military and security expenditures.

As a previous Negev dinner honouree (in Hamilton, 1999), I feel pride in congratulating Dr. Paul Davenport for this award. The award recognizes those who contribute to their local community, and Dr. Davenport is a worthy recipient.

My family chose to support a dairy farm in the desert as our project, and Dr. Davenport’s choice of En ro’im Spring Development will undoubtedly improve the environmental conditions in Northern Israel, an area that has been transformed from useless swampland into a flourishing valley through the efforts of the JNF and provides Israelis with the majority of its produce.

Although this award does not reflect the Western population, I am proud to see such a worthy recipient recognized by JNF Canada. Dr. Davenport is not supporting the taking of Palestinian lands, but is simply helping improve the environment and standard of living in the Middle East.

Kudos to you, Dr. Davenport, for not being swayed by the constant flow of anti-Israel rhetoric.
"Lenny Loewith
International Relations II

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