By the start of the 21st century, KKL-JNF had become Israel’s top green organization, as a result of its changing priorities in line with society's environmental needs. The policy of sustainable development merges well with growing environmental trends.
For the first time, KKL-JNF’s friends worldwide have mobilized to help people with special needs, by developing accessibility at KKL-JNF recreation sites for the physically disabled, and facilities to assist the hearing and vision-impaired. KKL-JNF aims to make all its sites available for everyone to enjoy.
At the same time, enormous efforts and resources were devoted to the top-speed laying of infrastructure for temporary communities and farms for the evacuees of Gush Katif, when they were relocated from their communities as part of the unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Efforts unprecedented in scope and generously assisted by friends of KKL-JNF worldwide, were devoted to reducing the evacuees’ distress as much as possible.
After the first wave of work was completed, the second wave prepared ground for permanent communities and for agricultural infrastructure. Several resulting new farms are flourishing in the desert of the western Negev.
Although KKL-JNF has been involved in settling and developing the Negev for decades, Friends of KKL-JNF worldwide have joined forces to offer residents of the Western Negev every kind of possible help when they are subject to rocket attacks from the Gaza strip. The support includes every kind of help possible, from providing the embattled population with respite activities at KKL-JNF sites to the construction of new communities, agricultural farms and safer ring roads.
Playground at the new Halutzit community. KKL-JNF Photo Archive
International recognition of KKL-JNF’s unique research that started over a decade earlier has grown to previously unknown levels as research partnerships were developed on water and forestry issues. Today, there is cooperation with the American and Australian forestry administrations, regional governments of the states of Alberta and Manitoba in Canada, and with the forestry organizations in Spain, Italy, Greece and other Mediterranean countries.
Researches carried out by KKL-JNF staff, in cooperation with leading academic institutions in Israel, have already benefited other countries, especially in eradicating the gall wasp (ophelimus maskelli) which causes tremendous damage to eucalyptus trees, an important resource in the Far East and Australia. KKL-JNF’s participation in the international “Clean Up the World” campaign, originating in Australia, is a further expression KKL-JNF’s dedication to greening the country and promoting community projects in the 21st century.
KKL-JNF’s 110 years of glorious achievement would not have been possible without the support of its friends worldwide, both before and after the founding of the state. Residents of Israel and visitors to the country experience a country that is more blooming and prosperous than ever before.
Thanks to KKL-JNF's work, the scars inflicted on forests by harsh climate, fires and war are slowly healing. For instance, the Galilee forests damaged by rocket attacks during the 2006 Second Lebanon War have been rejuvenated by the planting of hundreds of thousands of new saplings that either germinated naturally or were planted by loving hands. KKL-JNF is at the forefront of efforts to renew the Carmel forests damaged by the wildfires of December 2010. Under KKL-JNF's love and care, the blackened forests have become covered with green.
Purified sewage water from the Dan Region irrigates most of the orchards in Israel that have relocated together with the recycled water to the new green areas of the northern Negev.
Forests are now alive with cyclists who have discovered nature through the bicycle paths that KKL-JNF has created. The wild flowers in and around KKL-JNF’s forests bloom in the winter and spring months more than ever before, thanks to the organization’s correct maintenance of the picnic spots and their surroundings, and to the increased awareness of nature and the environment that KKL-JNF has instilled in the public.
Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive
In cooperation with the local authorities, KKL-JNF is in the process of planting seven million trees – one for each citizen. These projects express, among other things, the contribution made by KKL-JNF to the worldwide struggle against climate change.
Together with friends worldwide, KKL-JNF hopes to continue its multi-hued activities on behalf of the people and the land in the forthcoming decades.