Israel prepares to turn off lights for Earth Hour

Some 22 cities participate in annual event beginning at 8 pm; cities to hold environmentally friendly parties, events

On Sunday, for one hour, Israelis will turn off the lights and take part in the annual Earth Hour – a worldwide event encouraging households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour, part of the annual Earth Day activities. This year, Some 22 Israeli cities will be participating.

The lights out will begin at 8 pm in a gradual manner – so as not to damage the national electric grid. Tel Aviv, Yeruham and Yavne will be starting off the hour followed by Haifa, Givat Shmuel, Kiryat Yam, Yokneam-Illit, Ma’alot Tarshicha and Modi’in 10 minutes later. Other cities will continue to join in every 10 minutes.

Last year, some 700,000 Israeli residents turned off their lights in 67,000 households for one hour throughout the country, breaking a record in energy conservation and saving a total of NIS 50,000 ($13,000). This year, with the hike in electricity prices, the incentive to join in and turn off the lights will be even greater.

And while it might be dark inside, on the streets things are set to really light up. Many cities will be holding special ‘green’ events to mark the occasion. Netanya will be holding an “earphone party” with each participant receiving earphones that have been charged using solar panels.

In Eilat, residents and tourists are invited to make lampshades for energy-conserving lamps and use “sun ovens” to make pizzas, fondue and roast marshmallows in the city park. Tel Aviv will be holding the main event of the day – a major concert with some of Israel’s biggest stars, all using energy-efficient stages and lighting.

Meanwhile, Environment Ministry senior officials led by Minister Environmental Gilad Erdan will be showing a personal example and visiting high schools throughout the country to share lessons on Earth Hour and explain its importance.

Over the weekend, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and US Ambassador Dan Shapiro also showed their environmentally friendly sides when they planted trees near Jaffa in honor of Earth Hour.