Prominent local celebrities such as comedian Eli Finish and actress Liraz Charchi agree to be photographed buried up to their necks in coal as part of Greenpeace campaign against construction of additional coal-fired power plant in Ashkelon

We usually see them at their best – impeccably dressed and oozing glamour – but as part of a Greenpeace campaign, a line of local celebrities have agreed to be covered up to their necks with coal.

Comedian Eli Finish, columnist Dana Spector, signer Mosh Ben-Ari and others had their pictures taken while covered in coal in what is a call for government ministers to oppose the construction of an additional coal-fired power plant in Ashkelon.

The decision to set up the plant is scheduled to be made by a special Interior Ministry committee on national infrastructure issues. The debate on the matter was scheduled to take place last month, days after the Copenhagen climate change conference. However, the committee decided to postpone the debate to an unknown date following the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan.

Dana Spector buried in coal (Photo: Shir Levy)

Experts estimate that an additional coal-fired power station in Ashkelon would add 10% to the total of Israel’s greenhouse gas infusion. Environmental organizations such as Greenpeace claim that apart from the greenhouse gases, the station would also cause air pollution damaging local residents’ health.

Sources at the group said that they have recently sent letters to all government ministers calling them to voice their opinions on the matter, but received no reply.

No alternatives

Minister Erdan, however isn’t concealing his viewpoint. From his very first day in office he has been calling to defer the decision on the plant’s creation until no other alternatives become available (such as natural gas or alternative energy sources) and there are no cleaner technologies for the production of electricity from coal.

The Israel Electric Corporation and the Ministry of National Infrastructures claim that there is no other way than to use coal since natural gas is not an option. The corporation warned that electricity reserves are too little and supply of electricity on climax days isn’t steady. “If the coal station isn’t set up, there will be darkness here,” one source said.

The corporation further claimed that not only would the plant not pollute the air, it would help reduce pollution since it will enable the upgrade of screening devices in the other active stations’ chimneys.

It was recently decided to reduce electricity rates by 10%.

Environmental groups as well as the Environmental Protection Ministry are opposing the reduction, claiming it will lead to unnecessary consumption and increased demand. They further claimed that this would make it harder to counter the Electric Corps’ pressure of meeting demands by setting up additional power stations, which will in turn require increasing the rates again.,7340,L-3843637,00.html