It has now been almost two weeks since Rangers in Israel and all civilians in the region have to live with even more terrible news every day and traumatic situations in close vicinity. We would like to put a spotlight on the situation of the rangers of our member, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA), and share the thoughts of ERF President Urs Reif when thinking about friends and fellow rangers in Israel.
Letter from ERF President Urs Reif
Dear Rangers of Europe,
I am very sad these days.
I don’t understand what is happening and I have a very surreal feeling about why I should
feel safe at home – maybe sometimes freezing a little bit before starting the heater – while
so many others suffer and fear for their lives or lost their homes …
As you can imagine I am talking about the situation in Israel these days.
In 2018 I went privately to Israel for the first time on an invitation from my dear friend Ilan;
this was actually to start and bring power to the plans for the Twinning between Israel and
Germany. For 2 weeks I met rangers in their regions and their field of expertise – and I was
invited into their homes, slept in their beds and met their wife and children. These Rangers
were jewish, they were christian and they were muslim … it didn’t make a difference in any
way for all of us.
And also for the first time in my life – and to be honest, I am not a religious man – I visited
Jerusalem. This place where even non-religious people can feel that all the solution is just a
fingertip away … and still – in reality – the solution is miles away …
Since then I met rangers from Israel every year and I visited Israel twice again. I don’t know
what to say; there are no words besides feeling deeply for all the lifes taken, all the homes
destroyed and all the suffering of everyone on both sides in this conflict. My heart goes out
to every one of my friends in Israel.
The ERF is not an official government or the UN and we are no political institution. The ERF is
trying to take care of Rangers wherever they are, whatever they do to protect nature and
whatever religion they might be part of.
We don’t care about borders since nature has no borders.
We are not religious, since nature has no religion.
And most of all we despise warfare and hatred.
What we care for are Rangers and nature!
This is why we are here and what we are trying to do. So everyone out there: if you want to
help Rangers directly – in general or especially our friends in the Middle East – please reach
out to us and we will try to find a solution in the sense of the ERF and the rangers. We have
of course direct contact to Ranger-supporting NGOs in Israel.
Please everyone around there in this crazy world: peace and love is the way, not war and
hatred. Think of what Jerusalem could be! …
Urs Reif, ERF President
© photos by Urs Reif; header photo shows the landscape of the Dead Sea region