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The blooming legacy of Shirley Rose & Herschell Benyamin

The names Shirley Rose & Herschell Benyamin are synonymous with environmental activism in Israel.

 

As Anglo immigrants, the couple’s idealistic Zionism and love of the land and its people, coupled with their liberal and democratic values, found expression in the form of promoting environmental quality in Israel.

 

The Benyamins, respected members of the thriving Anglo community, were one of Adam Teva V’Din’s very first donors and remained longstanding members until their passing in 2010.

The Rose family arrived in Israel from the United States in 1970. Living in a period in which nuclear issues frequently made headline news, from the Chernobyl disaster to the local Va'anunu affair, Shirley was incredulous over the Israeli public’s inaccessibility to nuclear information. As a staunch believer in human rights, she was determined to remove the shroud of government secrecy obscuring the truth on nuclear matters.

 

Herschell Benyamin, a British immigrant who came to Israel to fight in the War of Independence, settled as a farmer in Moshav Beit Yitshach and then became the first manager of the Caesaria golf club. He was the perfect comrade for Shirley’s campaign and partnered with her to found the Israel Agency for Nuclear Information.

 

The organization evolved into Econet, a non-profit which promoted a wide spectrum of environmental issues, in particular the connection between health and environment. The principles which served as their beacon, namely government accountability, public participation and a healthy and safe living environment, are ideals which are the cornerstones of all of Adam Teva V’Din’s endeavors.

 

As time went on, Herschell, would have been content to settle into retirement surrounded by his avocado orchard, milk goats and organic vegetable garden on their small farm in Karkur, and enjoy the small pleasures of life together with his new wife. Shirley had other plans in mind.

 

Alon Tal, founder of Adam Teva V’Din, fondly recalls that “although she was past retirement age, Shirley had the energy and drive of a college activist”. For years, the couple worked enthusiastically on disseminating environmental information to the public. In appreciation for their unwavering dedication to the improvement of environmental quality and transparency in Israel, Econet was awarded with the acclaimed Israel Prize in 1994.

 

Today, Shirley’s sons, Jeremy and Peter Rose, continue their parents legacy and share in Adam Teva V'Din's vision and values. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to both of them for their donation in memory of their parents.

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