115 Years for a Sustainable Israel

115 Years of Green Action
Mazal Tov! On 19 Tevet 5777 (January 17, 2017) KKL-JNF turned 115 years old! Join us on a journey - to KKL-JNF's past in marking the borders of the state of Israel, its present role in creating a sustainable country, and its vision of a greener future for Israel and the rest of the world.
It is symbolic, perhaps even prescient, that the 19th of Tevet, the day the first furrow was dug in the land of Israel in 1878 in Petah Tikva, was later to become the day on which KKL-JNF was founded in 1901 at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel.

And here we are now, looking back on 115 years of what can be summed up as Green, Zionist Action.

As we continue to address the country's changing needs, today KKL-JNF's work for the land and the people of Israel is organized around the three headings of Sustainability, Peripheral Development and Zionist Education.
Girls with the Blue Box. KKL-JNF Photo Archive

Creating a Better Tomorrow

How does KKL-JNF work to create a greener and better tomorrow for all of Israel's inhabitants and the rest of the world? Watch this video to find out!

115 Years and More KKL-JNF Numbers

A show of numbers: KKL-JNF's achievements in forestry, water, parks, community development, education and more, in under two and a half minutes!

The Power of the Photograph: KKL-JNF now and then

A celebration of KKL-JNF over the past 115 years in an interactive album of photos past and present from the KKL-JNF Photo Archive!
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The Power of the Photograph: KKL-JNF now and then

Israeli Cartoonists Breeze About Trees

"The trees smile, we smile."
*Please note that these images are copyright.
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Israeli Cartoonists Breeze About Trees

The Year that Was: Sustainability, Development and Education

KKL-JNF's work for the land and people of Israel today is organized around the interdependent activities: sustainable development, the development of Israel's periphery and Zionist education in Israel and the diaspora, and fostering partnerships with our Friends around the world.

We summarize just a few of the activities that KKL-JNF has undertaken over the past year in these crucial fields:

Sustainable Development

KKL-JNF strives to create a balance between the needs of people and nature conservation so that they can coexist in harmony, creating a sustainable Israel.

KKL-JNF has made sustainable development a key focus of its activities. Over the past year, KKL-JNF has advanced sustainable development all around Israel more than ever before.

New Kfar HaHoresh bicycle trail brings the forest closer to people. Photo: Yaakov Shkolnik
Asides from its ongoing support of research and development in sustainable agriculture and renewable energy, its powerful impact on Israel's water economy and its sustainable forest management policies, 2016 saw some very exciting new KKL-JNF developments in sustainability:

KKL-JNF made headway in getting local communities involved in its forests. Together with other environmental organizations and local Jerusalemites, KKL-JNF launched a campaign to save Mount Heret from untrammeled development, and also, it developed a Jerusalem Forest Master Plan to make it more accessible to the nearby Jerusalem neighborhoods. Together with the communities of Shaalvim and Nof Ayalon, it transformed the neglected wooded area in their backyard into Shaalvim Community Forest. KKL-JNF continues to build lookout points and hiking and cycling trails, including the new bike trail in Shoham Forest. The organization continues to make sure that every segment of Israeli society can visit its parks and forests, including those with limited physical mobility. In recognition of its efforts in making its sites accessible, the Access Israel Convention awarded the Accessibility Prize to KKL-JNF's Hula Lake Park.

An essential part of sustainable development is getting businesses involved. This year, KKL-JNF and the Dan Hotels chain inaugurated the Dan Hotels Scenic Lookout on Mount Carmel. Together with the Israel Electric Company, it also inaugurated the accessible Renewable Energies Trail in Hagit Forest in the Galilee.

As part of its priority to work together with local authorities around Israel to advance comprehensive planning for towns, cities and villages, KKL-JNF, together with the Federations of Local Authorities in Israel, launched an urban planning conference in Haifa to discuss the interface between the organization and local government in a variety of areas including education, welfare, transport, housing, green environment and culture, in order to promote citizens' daily life in Israel.

KKL-JNF also launched the Center for Water Sensitive Cities in Kfar Saba together with the Kfar Saba Municipality, Monash University in Australia, the Technion, Ben Gurion University of the Negev and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In addition, KKL-JNF and the Israeli Ministry of Housing and Construction funded the first green renovation project in Sderot, as part of the Housing Ministry's Urban Renewal Program. It is hoped that the pilot's success in renovating an old apartment building to fit with green standards will extend the project to cities and towns all around Israel.

As part of its policy to work with natural systems rather than against them, KKL-JNF is taking a 'hands-off' approach to forest rehabilitation in the wake of the November 2016 fires, encouraging the forests to regenerate themselves with only a little help along the way, such as clearing away dead trees and scrub, creating fire breaks and encouraging the growth of natural local species.

Development of the periphery

KKL-JNF continues to advance the communities in Israel's outlying areas by attracting young families to the Negev and the Galilee by building infrastructure for new/young communities, developing and recycling water sources for the development of agriculture, and creating parks, accessible forest paths and bike trails in order to bring more tourism to Israel's remote areas.

In 2016, KKL-JNF, together with its Friends worldwide, enriched tourism in the north of Israel by inaugurating the new Acre Visitors Center in the old city of Acre with the support of JNF USA and developed the Jezreel KKL-JNF Trail in conjunction with the Jezreel Valley Regional Council and other government bodies.

The JNF Canada mission embarked on a special tour of the Galilee with KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar, himself a resident of the Galilee and the former chairman of the Gilboa Regional Council, in order to examine ways to advance development in the Galilee.

The Tova Vickar Education & Life Skills Center, a learning center and a state of the art auditorium were all completed in 2016 for Megiddo High School thanks to JNF Canada donors Tova and Larry Vickar.

The new community of Mitzpe Ilan in the Jezreel Valley, named after famed Israeli Astronaut Ilan Ramon, was also completed in 2016, and the final plots of land have been handed over to new families.

In addition, KKL-JNF has developed a number of scenic lookouts in Israel's northern region, such as the Yousef Mouadi Scenic Lookout in the Kiryat Ata Forest near Haifa, and the Dado Scenic Lookout in Lebanon border town of Metulla, which celebrated its 120th birthday in a grand Shavuot parade held in conjunction with KKL-JNF.

The southern city of Dimona inaugurated its new man-made lake in Ben Gurion Park, an oasis in the middle of the desert, which was built with the support of Friends of JNF Holland. The park is attracted to draw thousands of visitors from around Israel.

In the city of Kiryat Malachi, JNF UK inaugurated 3 new kindergartens and laid the foundation stone for a new youth center.

In addition, landscaping and infrastructure projects for water recycling and agriculture are zooming full speed ahead in the Western Negev communities of Merhav Am, Nir Am, and Nahal Oz thanks to JNF Australia. On their mission to Israel, the JNF Victoria leadership inaugurated a newly completed water recycling facility at Kibbutz Bror Hayil, including a upgraded pumping station and effluent pipes.

KKL-JNF also completed earthworks at Moshav Idan and Moshav Paran in the Arava to prepare land for agriculture, thanks to the support of friends of JNF Holland. In addition, works to complete the drainage for the Ramon Airport near Timna are forging full speed ahead

KKL-JNF also continues to plant life saving trees for Gaza border communities along their access roads and fields, shielding them from being targeted by Gaza snipers and rockets.

A discussion on the progress happening in Israel's south cannot go by without mentioning the many landscaping projects such gardens and parks for desert communities in the south; the new park and playground in the Gaza border kibbutz of Ein Hashlosha thanks to KKL Chile and KKL Uruguay; the John A. Tory Memorial Autism Therapy Garden at ALUT Beersheva thanks to friends of JNF Toronto; the promenade at the entrance to the Arava community of Tzukim thanks to friends of KKL Sweden and the landscaped promenade at the entrance to Eilat thanks to friends of JNF Canada are just a few examples of how KKL-JNF and its Friends worldwide make the lives of residents in Israel's outlying communities in the south more pleasant and more green.

Zionist and Environmental Education

KKL-JNF has made the instilment of eco-Zionist values and the development of young leadership in Israel and around the world a top priority for the coming years.

To this end, educational initiatives have flourished over the past year, in the form of camps, youth conferences, competitions, formal and informal education programs and special days, for children, youth and their teachers.

In Israel, the KKL-JNF Education Division completed its Green Leadership Classroom program, where open classrooms were installed in schoolyards all over the country, across all segments of Israeli society. The open class rooms were part of a program to empower young leaders who would in turn teach their peers about Zionism and the environment.

KKL-JNF also held special days throughout 2016, including the annual Clean Up the World Day in Israel, which took place this year on September 22nd. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers from schools, communities, army bases and other institutions participated in cleaning up their local parks, forests and open spaces.
Other special days observed by KKL-JNF in Israel included International Environmental Protection Day and International Forest Day.

The KKL-JNF Education Division's Field and Forest Centers in Tzippori in the Galilee and Nes Harim near Jerusalem continue to host schools, youth groups and teachers for education seminars, camps, and conferences. Two special events of note at the Field and Forest Centers included an overnight sports camp for children with special needs at the Tzippori campus and hosting families and schools evacuated from their homes during the November 2016 fires at the Nes Harim campus.

For teachers in Israel and around the world, KKL-JNF held seminars on Israel and the environment as well as excursions, for example: a two day trip for Israeli teachers in order to learn about the importance of the biosphere, and a seminar in Israel for Hebrew, Bible and geography teachers from France and Belgium.

The KKL-JNF Education Division also led activities, camps and Israel encounters for youth and students from the Diaspora. On Tu Bishvat, MASA students in Israel got to plant trees with IDF soldiers on the Michmash Army base, youth from Perth spent a day with their Israeli peers in the Negev town of Merhav Am, and visiting Australian youth cleaned up the shores of the Kinneret with Israeli youth on Clean Up the World Day.

For university students and young professionals in Canada, there was the JNF Canada mission for young professionals to Israel.

Starting at the very end of 2016, KKL-JNF held a successful 9-day young leadership conference for young leaders of KKL in Latin American countries, the first of its kind, in Israel.

Other exciting developments included an educational program for Israeli and German high-school students on sustainable public transport, which culminated in an interschool film competition and the 2016 Sderot Conference for Society, a meeting for KKL-JNF youth for informal education.

KKL-JNF Education Emissaries from Israel have also working very busily to inspire leadership, Zionism and ecological values in the younger generation in countries all over the world. Examples of their activities included successful summer camps and activities in Australia and Argentina.

KKL-JNF's Friends and Partners around the World

KKL-JNF's 45 partnering offices and 900,000 donors and friends from around the world continue to support numerous projects in the fields of forestry, agriculture, water and community development, improving the quality of life for people in Israel and around the world, and advancing sustainability for generations to come.

News Updates of 2016

To learn more about KKL-JNF's many and varied activities for people and their environment in Israel and around the world over the past year, check out our news archives: