Residents in 20 cities throughout Israel were encouraged to turn off their lights for 60 minutes on Thursday night to mark international Earth Hour, an environmental event initiated in Sydney, Australia four years ago.

“Earth Hour is an opportunity to center the attention on saving the environment, the natural resources and the quality of our life,” said Hillel Fertouk, the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality spokesman.

While Israel marked the hour on Thursday, most of the world will do so this Saturday at 8:30 p.m. local time.

The 20 cities began their hour-long lights-out periods at consecutive 10-minute intervals beginning at 8 p.m., with Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Yeroham and Modi’in- Maccabim-Reut, followed by Jerusalem and Dimona at 8:10 p.m.; Petah Tikva, Ness Ziona and Ra’anana at 8:20; Netanya, Rehovot, Arad, Eilat and Yavneh at 8:30; Ashdod, Givatayim, Herzliya and Bat Yam at 8:40; and Holon, Haifa and Yokne’am at 8:50 p.m.

The Israel Electric Corp. said that it would show online afterwards whether the cities had successfully reduced their typical energy usage for that hour, according to Ilan Arnon, IEC North District spokesman.

Tel Aviv was supposed to have a huge event in Rabin Square, featuring shows by musicians Carolina, Red Band and Giraffe, as well as a speech by Mayor Ron Huldai, but the event was canceled at the last minute due to heavy rain. The energy necessary for the performances was supposed to be generated by cyclists peddling and biodiesel fuel obtained from used falafel oil.

Also slated for the canceled event was “a dance floor that creates electricity,” according to Lisbeth Biger, who was instrumental in designing said stage with her husband, Eyal Biger, head of Good Energy Initiative.

Underneath the dance floor are copper circuits that produce electricity by interacting with magnetic dancing shoes specially created by Lisbeth. She had put together 34 pairs of shoes, inserting magnets between plastic pieces and attached Velcro as straps, she said.

Prior to Yeroham’s Earth Hour, 3,000 students received energy-saving light bulbs to distribute to their family members, after learning about how to save energy, said Amir Seged, director of Yeroham’ Education Department.

Next week, the town will offer a continuing education class on environment and the Bible for adults, as well as a project where children can create art from plastic bottles, he said.

In Eilat, one unique event that occurred during the lights-out period was the kindling of Leviathan Energy’s brand new Tulip wind turbine on the roof of the Hilton Hotel.

“One of the nice things about it is that it’s meant to be beautiful as well as effective,” said Dr. Daniel Farb, CEO of Leviathan Energy Renewables, Ltd., prior to the launch.

Shaped like its floral namesake, the Tulip is smaller and more solid than the typical wind turbine and was designed aerodynamically to be very low in noise and vibration, Farb said.


The machine creates very low turbulence, is easily visible to birds in flight and is “very friendly for the Israeli environment,” according to Farb.

One reason Leviathan chose Eilat for the launch was because of its forceful winds – which he calls “one of the best” in Israel.

“There’s a very good wind that comes through the Arava valley,” he said. “Most people are aware it’s a good area for sun, but most aren’t aware that’s it’s good for wind.”

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger