International Environmental Protection Day at the Knesset

On Tuesday, June 7, 2016, International Environmental Protection Day was celebrated at the Knesset.

KKL-JNF presented its work for preservation of forests and urban trees in Israel at a symposium of the environmental-social lobby in the Knesset. 

Lavie forest. Photo: Tania Susskind

On Tuesday, June 7, 2016, International Environmental Protection Day was celebrated at the Knesset, in the course of which a symposium was held by the Environment-Social Lobby on the topic of urbanization as a means for coping with the climate crisis as well as additional environmental and social challenges. The symposium was attended by the Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection, KKL-JNF, the Forum 15 and other environmental organizations.

At the festive symposium held by the Environmental Lobby at the Knesset, architect Noa Tal from the Planning Division at KKL-JNF said, “Forests and urbanization go hand in hand, with each depending on the other. A strong, healthy, prospering city prevents the establishment of new cities and enables green lungs outside the cities, such as parks and forests, to grow and to flourish.

Also, trees in cities are an essential resource for maintaining shade, oxygen and residents’ quality of life. Therefore, KKL-JNF works to strengthen both of these components, from collaborating with popular struggles for the protection of open spaces with sensitive scenery from uncontrolled construction, like in the Jerusalem Hills, to the regulation of trees and green areas in Israel’s cities for the benefit of the people.”

KKL-JNF’s afforestation enterprise, which began more than a hundred years ago, has resulted in Israel’s being one of the only countries in the world that has more trees today than it had a hundred years ago. There are more than 1.6 million dunams of forests and woodlands in Israel today containing over 240 million trees. These ecosystems maintained by KKL-JNF provide an extensive variety of ecological services for the benefit of the population of the State of Israel.

The forests are situated next to populated areas and contribute toward a green environment and public health. In recent years, KKL-JNF has also constructed over 200 thousand firebreaks around cities located near forests to prevent the spreading of wildfires and has been developing indigenous tree species that can endure aridity in view of the expected drop in precipitation and increasing drought, and promote the expansion of Israel’s green areas.

Jerusalem forest. Photo: Tania Susskind