The international hype around ecology and green living is slowly making it’s mark on everyday life in Israel. Awareness is rising in every field: The media is In love with the subject, academic research is developing and investors are discovering the amazing business potential in the new industry. We all seem to be moving forward, except our government.

Yesterday, the environmental lobby in the Knesset revealed the 2008 budget for the ministry of environmental protection. It doesn’t look good. The basic budget was cut down from 180 million NIS in 2007 to 100 million NIS, Research funding was cut down from 14.6 million NIS to 0.9 million and energy efficiency funding was cut down from 13.6 million NIS to 1.66 million.

MK Michael Malkior, the chairman of the environmental lobby, bitterly joked that even when he was a minister without portfolio, he had a bigger budget to work with.

This is even more absurd, given the fact that Israeli entrepreneurs are leading the green market with new technologies and business models. With the proper budgetary support, Israel could make a real ecological progress that might have international impact. Hopefully, private investors will grab the chance that our government doesn’t mind missing.