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Israel Conducts Tv Telethon to Help Rehabilitate Forests

October 20, 1989
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israel Television devoted its entire evening program Thursday to telethon entertainment, a public auction and a phone-in aimed at raising funds for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Carmel National Park and forest badly damaged by intifada-linked arsonists last month.

The main broadcast was from the Churchill Auditorium on the Mount Carmel campus of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, where a star-studded program of leading Israeli entertainers, singers and artists volunteered their services.

American Jews also joined in the worldwide effort, by means of a 24-hour hotline — (800) 542-TREE — set up by the Jewish National Fund, the agency responsible for afforestation and land reclamation in Israel.

At the Israeli Embassy in Washington on Thursday night, Ambassador Moshe Arad announced through a telephone hookup to the telethon that $850,000 had been raised so far in the United States.

In West Germany, meanwhile, the minister of agriculture, Ignaz Kiechle, informed Israeli diplomats this week that his ministry was willing to help Israel reforest parts of the Carmel.

He was responding to approaches for advice and assistance in an ongoing effort to make the West German public aware of the 2 million trees and 40,000 acres of forest land lost to arsonists of the intifada over the last two years.

Kiechle said the Federal Republic would be willing to send experts to assess the damage and equipment to help in the reforestation efforts.

It was learned from Bonn on Wednesday that some $10,000 in cash and pledges has been raised in West Germany so far to replant the Carmel forest.

Money was raised by employees of the Israeli Embassy in Bonn at a gathering Wednesday attended by several Bundestag members, who vowed to mobilize support for rehabilitation of the burn-out woodlands.

Other commitments have come from the ecology-oriented Green Party, whose environmental concerns apparently outweighed its pro-Palestinian political bias.

Although usually critical of Israel, party members chastised the Palestinians, saying that setting forest fires is not the way to "fight for freedom."

(JTA correspondents David Kantor in Bonn and David Friedman in Washington contributed to this report.)

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