David Conquers Goliath, Again! Elah Valley Saved from Oil Shale Extraction

Elah Valley Saved

The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel celebrated the monumental decision by the Jerusalem Planning Committee to save the Valley of Elah from the Israel Energy Initiatives’ (IEI) attempt to start an unproven, experimental and potentially catastrophic fracking-like process in the Judean lowlands, the heartland of the State of Israel. One of SPNI’s greatest victories in recent years, it is a true David and Goliath story.


For over two years, SPNI has campaigned to safeguard the future of one of Israel’s most important ecological corridors, open spaces and aquifers. The valley is full of archeological heritage that drilling would have destroyed, it is the historical location where David defeated Goliath. The campaign by SPNI and other environmental non-profit organizations against the wealthy, politically connected IEI represents a similarly unlikely victory of the underdog defeating the giant.


The IEI, backed by billionaire investors such as Dick Cheney, Rupert Murdoch and Michael Steinhardt, attempted to gain authorization for this pilot project by seducing government ministers, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, with promises of transforming Israel into an energy superpower, through the export of the bottom-of-the-barrel fossil fuels they hoped to extract with their fracking-like processes. These promises were made in spite of the fact that decades of research and 13 other pilot projects had ended in failure, and despite the poor quality of the fuels they hoped to extract through processes never before used for commercial production.  


On September 2nd 2014, the Jerusalem Planning Committee, withstanding a huge amount of political pressure including a last minute letter from the Prime Minister’s Office, voted almost unanimously in favor of SPNI’s arguments saving the Valley of Elah and the region from a potential environmental disaster.


This decision secures Israel's commitment to  developing renewable sources of energy and cutting greenhouse emissions through the development and use of natural gas.


“This is an important day for the environment and for the citizens of Israel, who won one of the most beautiful and toured parts of Israel,” said Environmental Minister Amir Peretz, who has been vocal against the project. “This is also an important day particularly for our children, who can be sure that the natural resources of Israel will be preserved and serve them in the future.”

A Beautiful Landscape SAVED!

Elah Valley

A Beautiful Landscape SAVED!

View pictures of the beautiful Elah Valley at the north of the Adulam region. It is part of one of the most beautiful contiguous open spaces in Israel. A vital part of Israel's ecological corridor, it helps to maintain biodiversity in the country. It is also a popular destination for mountain biking.

Read the Jerusalem Post article: Green groups laud collapse of oil shale project

Read the Jerusalem Post article: J'lem District Committee rejects Shfela basin oil shale project

Read the Ha'aretz article: Planning Committee nixes oil fracking plan

Read the Jerusalem Post blog: How green is my valley