As a youngster in Israel, Benjamin Kahn's greatest pleasure was to go snorkeling with his dad in the Red Sea. The reefs of Eilat were an underwater wonderland, where forests of coral teemed with sea horses and with schools of pulsing, multicolored fish that looked as though they had been splashed by a clown's paintbrush.
Kahn studied marine biology and left Israel for the U.S. and Australia to help tend the
investments of his father, Morris, a software and telecommunications billionaire. When he
came back in 2000 to live in Israel and dive again regularly in the sea of his childhood, Kahn was horrified by what he saw: the once-azure water was now murky. The Red Sea reef had possessed the greatest variety of coral and undersea life anywhere in the world. But most of the vibrantly colored fish were now gone. All but the hardiest of 30 coral species had died off, and the reef itself had withered into a sandy, underwater boneyard. "I knew that if the reef was going to survive, someone had to fight for it," says Kahn.
He was uniquely placed for the battle: he had expertise (his family owns seven giant
aquarium parks around the world, including one in Eilat) and he had lots of money. First,
Kahn tapped his family's marine-park scientists to come up with new ways of regrowing the battered coral. Today, after every storm, Kahn and his divers collect the fragments and give them to 5,000 school kids to grow like saltwater saplings for months in classroom tubs. Then divers carefully glue the living fragments back onto the reef.
But his toughest fight was on land, against politicians and businessmen. Kahn's experts
figured out that the reef began dying when giant fish farms, which provide 15% of the fish on Israeli tables, were built in 1997. These cages were spewing tons of uneaten food and
excrement onto the reef. "It was the same as if a town of 60,000 people were dumping its
sewage straight into the sea," says Kahn. Acting through Zalul, an Israeli clean-water
advocacy group, Kahn fought the powerful lobby of fish-cage owners in the courts and won. A third of the cages were dismantled last year, and the Israeli courts ruled that remaining cages
must be cleared away by mid-2008. "When all the cages are gone, maybe the reef can revive itself," says Kahn. "It's our only chance to regain the amazing vibrancy the reef once had."
Meanwhile, Kahn can usually be found several fathoms down, tending his reef like a deep-sea gardener.
article at Myhero
Maya holds an MA in Public Management from the IDC, an MA in International Affairs and Political Science from Columbia University and a BA in communications and Jewish History from Tel Aviv University.
Before running “Zalul” she was the Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a M100$ foundation. Maya has over 15 years of experience in media advising, lobbying and event productions for the public and Third Sectors. She has served in the past as spokesperson and part of the close staff of Prime Minister Ehud Barak, as Chief Information Officer for the Israeli Consulate General in NY, and as Chief Representative of the Geneva Initiative in North America. As owner of MJ Media Solutions she provided PR, Lobbying, fundraising and networking services to Americans in Israel and to Israelis in the US. Upon her return to Israel in 2005, served as Director for the Sheatufim Center for Philanthropy and later as independent social-investment consultant for philanthropists, politicians and organizations. Her clients included the Interdisciplinary Institute in Hertzlia, the Kadima Party, the Reut Institute and many more.
Dalia joined Zalul in 2009. She holds a BA degree in history and political science and a
bachelor degree from Recanati department, Tel-Aviv University. She worked for many years as a journalist dealing with environmental, real estate and infrastructures topics at Globes newspaper and Yediot media. Dalia received an award for her work as environmental journalist- PRAT award. She also was rewarded an official beach cleanup certificate from the ministry of the environment
for her contribution of cleaning Nahariya’s beaches. Dalia enjoys riding her bike and swimming along the Mediterranean Sea.
Tsafrir Gidron- Project Coordinator Mediterranean Sea
Born and raised in Haifa in a home with an environmental atmosphere and sustainable lifestyle and point of view, educated from early age to the love of nature.
Has a B.A in History and in Political Since from the Hebrew University and M.A in Environmental Policy Planning and Management. During his M.A studies, Tsafrir did a research project about the influence of uncertainty on the scientists' impact on environmental policy design. The research was published by the Floershieimer Studies Institute Publisher under the name "Science, Policy and Uncertainty – The Roll of Scientists in Shaping Environmental Policy in Israel". One of the cases researched was the struggle to leave off the aquaculture from Eilat bay. Within this struggle the association was established. Marin Program Coordinator, in charge on sea protection campaigns, including: follow up after pollution happens, coordinate dialog with the authorities concerning environmentally dangerous uses for example: off shore gas & oil drilling, desalination, over fishing, dumping waste and trash, and etc.
Sigal holds a BA in Communication Management from the Tel Aviv College for Management. Has eight years' experience working with the third sector, with an emphasis on non-profit organizations and environmental groups. For six years, she acted as the spokeswoman and manager of media campaigns and various public promotions for environmental and social organizations, including Zalul. As part of her position, Sigal led many additional environmental projects. Today, Acts as the head of partnerships and activities at Zalul
Shahar was born in Yavne. He holds a LLB-BA in Law and Behavioral Sciences from the College of Management in Rishon Letzion and a Masters in Environment and Sustainable Development from University College London. Previously he worked in Zalul as a Project Coordinator Mediterranean Sea and Lachish River. Today he works as cooperation