Healthy Cities

Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle at KKL-JNF Sites

The Jim Spatz Bicycle Trail in Tel Aviv. Photo: Yoav Devir
KKL-JNF is a partner in the Healthy Cities Network in Israel and has committed itself to providing Israel’s communities and open spaces with the infrastructure necessary to promote a healthy lifestyle.

KKL-JNF joins the Healthy Cities network

The Healthy Cities Network in Israel has been in operation since 1990 as part of a worldwide movement led by the World Health Organization (WHO) in order to promote public health and reduce health level inequality within the population. Cities, government ministries, organizations, institutions and individuals interested in promoting the issue in Israel have all joined the network, which, with the support of the Ministry of Health, functions as a unit within the local government framework.
Jim Spatz bike path and walking trail in Tel Aviv. Photo: Yoav Devir
Every local authority that belongs to the network has committed itself to translate the vision of Health for All into action; adopting the principles and strategies necessary for better health and sustainability and working to improve the factors that influence public health - such as the environment, education and social conditions - in order to provide better health and a better quality of life for everyone.

undertakes to prepare a strategic plan for the development of health and sustainability on the basis of information gathered from existing sources and a local population sample survey (urban health profile) and to implement it both directly through local council departments and indirectly via other bodies related to the municipality. Organizations that belong to the network - which now includes KKL-JNF- are asked to adapt their routine activities to conform to the Healthy City approach and help Healthy Cities reach their goals.
The Israeli Healthy Cities Network offers a framework for the activities of these cities. It provides training for municipal coordinators, a platform for issue-centered study groups, opportunities for shared learning and help with communicating its principles to the general public.
Bike trail in Jerusalem Park. Photo: Tania SusskindEach Healthy City
Forty-three Israeli cities and local / regional councils are members of the Healthy Cities Network, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Netanya, Ashkelon, Maaleh Adumim, Kiryat Gat, Umm al-Fahm, Rahat, Ramla, Ashdod, Modiin-Maccabim-Reut, Hertzliya, Beit Shemesh, Kiryat Bialik, Yeruham, Maalot-Tarshiha and Kiryat Shmona. Europe has over 1,500 Healthy Cities, and worldwide there are over 6,000.

In recent years KKL-JNF has been working to promote health-friendly environments, and now that it has joined the Healthy Cities Network, it will be able to expand its influence within municipal frameworks: KKL-JNF representatives will sit on municipal steering committees and join relevant task-force groups in order to advance the notion of health-promoting environments in planning processes, educational programs and community activities.
Sports court at the Meitar Center for youth at risk in Ashkelon. Photo: Yoav Devir

Free-time fun

Neighborhood parks are an escape; a place to run around and play

Forests, parks & recreation sites, and KKL-JNF activities in health-promoting environments

KKL-JNF has committed itself to providing Israel’s communities and its open spaces with the infrastructure necessary to promote a healthy lifestyle. To this end, KKL-JNF is initiating and constructing trails that encourage healthy walking, running and cycling, together with footpaths through forests and other areas of natural beauty.

A recent study entitled KKL-JNF Health Promoting Environments: Forests/Parks/Leisure & Recreation Sites and Activities, which was carried out by KKL-JNF's Planning Division, examined ways to create the tools that will allow forests, parks, recreation sites and sports facilities to be used to their full potential. The aim of the study was to make the extensive infrastructure developed by KKL-JNF accessible to the widest possible cross-section of the general public.

During their work the researchers learned a great deal about what is being done in other parts of the world. Thus, it emerged, for example, that in order to encourage activities in a health-promoting environment, cooperation between KKL-JNF and Israel's health care organizations is needed, in order to promote the link between a healthy lifestyle and KKL-JNF environments and activities.
This has already begun, and along with preventative medicine in Israel gaining momentum, the country's HMOs (Kupot Holim) have expressed interest in carrying out further research on the topic of KKL-JNF and its potential contribution to the health of Israel's residents.

The research examined the ability of forests to function as a health-promoting environment. KKL-JNF organized a study day for staff in local municipalities, government ministries and health organizations, who were surprised to discover this new area of activity in their field.
Outdoor gym on the Dalton-Gush Halav Coexistence Trail in the Galilee. Photo: Yoav Devir
Highlights from the study "KKL-JNF Health Promoting Environments: Forests/Parks/Leisure & Recreation Sites and Activities", from the relevant professional literature, included the following:

Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of premature death, disease, and a variety of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, depression, anxiety, and overweight.

Forests and parks are potential spaces for promoting an active and healthy lifestyle

The overall benefits of forests, parks and open public spaces include physical health, psychological health, healthy social and community interactions, economic and environmental health.

Implementing a socio-ecological model as an orienting theory for health promoting forests.

A great deal still remains to be done with regard to branding forests and open spaces as a health-enhancing environment and raising awareness of KKL-JNF as an organization that works for the benefit of the health of the general public in Israel.
Jerusalem Builders Park around the Old City Walls. Photo: Tania Susskind

Socializing and learning

Parks are like holidays, bringing us together to share good times.

They are the common ground that connects us all.

KKL-JNF promotes health (services) free of charge!

KKL-JNF has taken upon itself to create the infrastructure for facilities in Israel's forests, open spaces and communities that promote a healthy lifestyle.

To this end, KKL-JNF develops and provides:

KKL-JNF, in cooperation with the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, has recently published a three-part study, whose purpose is to examine the means and methods whereby the full potential of KKL-JNF forests, parks and open spaces can be realized, engaging people in daily exercise and popular sports. The goal is to make the diverse and extensive "opportunities for health" facilities developed by KKL-JNF accessible to the widest possible public.

Gan HaBanim Park in Bnei Brak. Photo: Yoav Devir

Valued today and always

Parks enrich our lives.

They add value to our homes and neighborhoods.

Individually, and as a community, we'll always have that need.