Embassy of Israel Washington, D.C.

Did You Know?
Israel and the Environment

Greenery has long played a vital role in the Israeli national consciousness. Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion articulated the national love of trees during the planting of the President’s Forest in 1949. “Of all the blessed acts in which we are engaged in this country,” he said, “I do not know if there is a more fruitful enterprise, whose results are so useful, as the planting of trees, which adds beauty to the scenery of our country, improves its climate and adds health to its inhabitants.” The process of greenification had begun even before Israel’s establishment in 1948. Early pioneers came to Israel in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to find a country bare due to centuries of uncontrolled grazing. Pioneers drained swamplands, tilled the soil and planted trees throughout the land; laying the early foundations of the state.
Israel Ministry of Tourism

tion projects and helping establish Israel’s national parks By 1935 KKL-JNF had planted 1.7 million trees in Israel. Since Israel’s establishment in 1948, KKL-JNF has planted over 200 million trees to aide in Israel’s development. Thanks in large part to their efforts, Israel was the only country in the world to enter the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees. The holiday of Tu bi-Sh’vat is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Sh’vat (around the month of January) is widely celebrated and considered the New Year for Trees. The first mention of this holiday appears in the Talmud in 200 C.E. Tu bi-Sh’vat is marked by the planting of trees throughout the country. New trees planted in Israel

Israel Ministry of Tourism

Blooming anemone flowers grow in the Ela Valley

Trees and cyclamen flowers bloom in the Ben-Shemen Forest

Keren Kayemet Le-Yisrael—Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) was founded in 1901 to buy and develop land in Palestine for Jewish development and settlement. Since it was founded, KKL-JNF has been at the forefront of Israel’s greenification and sustainability efforts, planting forests, developing water conserva-



Blossming Timna Park in the Negev Desert

Protecting the environment is a high priority for the Israeli public, and both public and private institutions. In 1973, the government established the Environmental Protection Service (today called the Ministry of the Environment). The Ministry of the Environment monitors both the environment of Israel and its agricultural practices. It works to ensure that the use of pesticides and fertilizers is controlled and that organic waste is disposed of properly.
Israel Ministry of Tourism

such, Israel takes seriously its commitment to environmental action. This commitment has driven Israeli scientists and government officials to further develop and push for innovations towards conservation, preservation, and sustainability. A combination of sophisticated applied science, rugged determination, and government support have helped Israel's farmers to modernize and adapt to changing geopolitical, market and climatic conditions and has given Israeli farmers the tools they need to ensure continued success in the future.

Haifa’s Carmel Park

Israel Ministry of Tourism

Israeli concern for the environment extends to conserAnimals vation as well. In the past ten years recycling levels in . in Haifa’s Carmel Israel have increased tenfold, and the government Park hopes to reach a fifty percent recycling rate by 2010. The Nature and Parks Authority is responsible for the operation of Israel’s 287 national parks and animal and nature reserves. The Nature and Parks Authority maintains an extensive list of protected flora, fauna and minerals. Protected flora in Israel include anemo- Israel Ministry of Tourism nes and irises, protected fauna include gazelles and For more information, please visit: hawks, and protected minerals include fossils, stalag• Ministry of the Environment mites and stalactites. www.environment.gov.il • The Nature and Parks Authority Agriculture and agricultural development play signifiwww.parks.org.il cant roles in Israeli history, industry and culture. As • KKL-JNF www.kkl.org.il

Water Conservation

and Israeli Technological Innovation
irrigation and sprinkler irrigation. Drip irrigation is an Israeli-born innovation that is used worldwide for watering plants and crops. Drip irrigation consists of small tubes that are buried in the ground alongside crops, plants, and trees. Water is regularly released from small openings in the tubes to provide precisely enough water for each plant. This ensures the continued growth and health of Israel’s plants, crops and trees while sparing needless waste of one of Israel’s most precious resources.

One of Israel’s most substantial environmental challenges is the preservation of its precious water resources. Israel is situated in an arid zone and the natural resources are insufficient to meet the everrising demand for water. A majority of the country’s water is derived from very little rainfall, necessitating the development of bold and innovative water strategies. Israeli water conservation serves as a global model and its desalination endeavors are among the most sophisticated in the world. Israel’s limited water resources caused water rationing and the enactment of the Water Law in 1959. The Water Law ended the private ownership of water resources and established an administrative water allocation mechanism. Passing the Water Law has earned Israel the respect of many nations around the world for Israel’s ability to allocate its limited water resources for a long period of time in a manner that is beneficial to resources and users alike. Israeli companies have developed a series internationally renowned irrigation methods that are designed to make maximum use of its limited water resources. These include; drip irrigation, buried irrigation, spray


Lettuce crops in Israel lined with drip irrigation tubes

Israel Ministry of Tourism

Clean water streams through the Yarkon River