2002-2011: The Fight against Plans to Establish a Coal Power

One of the more recognized struggles associated with Green Course is the fight against the plans to establish a coal power plant in Ashkelon. In 2001 plans submitted by the Electric Company were approved for the establishment of a third coal power plant in Ashkelon.

Green Course activities from the faculty in Rehovot and the Achva College started a full-force multi-level campaign against the plans in 2002. On the local level wide community PR activities were hold, taking advantage of local elections in 2003 to raise the topic to public awareness; leaders of the struggle initiated debates on environmental issues between the different candidates to Ashkelon’s public offices, a debate which in hindsight was one of the most significant moments of the elections and brought about the election of a mayor who, at that time, was against the construction of the power plant.

On the regional level, a campaign center was set up led by the heads of the municipalities that would be damaged by the plant. In 2003 the campaign reached the national level, when Green Course brought together a coalition made up of different organizations including Adam Teva V’Din, Greenpeace, the Society for the Preservation of Nature and Environmental Life. The activities held at the national level included lobbying at the Knesset and in the government offices, huge protests in front of the National Infrastructure Committee and in front of the Knesset.

The outstanding moments of this campaign included, among others, Global Earth Day 2004, during which the characters Beka and Neka – the shadow characters of Sheka and Teka (characters who remind people to take care when handling electricity). During the same year, the coal powered power plant project came in first place in the ‘Black Globe’ as the worst project – ‘awarded’ to Beka and Neka by environmental agencies.

In 2011 a decision was made to turn the power plant from being completely coal based to working on gas with coal as a ‘backup’. This was a significant achievement for activists who managed to influence residents of the area into joining the struggle and which gave rise to new concepts that are now familiar every-day phrases – such as “Renewable Energy”.