The word liman comes from Greek, and means “port.” It appears in the Yoma tractate of the Jerusalem Talmud: “Until he reached the liman of Jaffa.”
Limans are notable for their location and the way trees are planted in them and acclimated to the arid climate with the help of ancient agricultural techniques once widely used in this region. Since the 1960s KKL-JNF has had a mandate for the creation and maintenance of limans, as an extension of the activities of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Land Conservation Division, which until then had been responsible for forestry.
Some 420 limans can be found throughout the Negev, most of them adjacent to Route 40 (from Beersheba to Mitzpe Ramon), Route 25 (Dimona / Beersheba / Netivot) and Route 31 (Arad / Shoket / Lehavim / Eshel HaNasi).
These limans make a unique contribution to the arid expanses of the Negev, and enhance tourism by providing a place to stop, rest and listen to explanations in the shade. Ecologically speaking, they promote the conservation of water, flora and fauna, benefit the trees and improve grazing for the flocks of local Bedouin.
The limans are now under threat from the increased pace of intensive development underway in the Negev: the expansion of a variety of infrastructures (future railroad tracks, road widening, etc.), construction close to or on top of the limans (mainly as a result of the transfer of IDF military bases to the Negev) and overgrazing are the principal factors endangering the continued existence of this feature of the Negev landscape.
In consequence, KKL-JNF has decided to adopt several courses of action in order to conserve the limans as part of the man-made landscape of the Negev.