The Israel Land Authority has announced the allocation of NIS 400 million ($110 m.) from this year’s budget to support approximately 110 environmental and ecological projects, making them accessible to the public.
The decision was confirmed during a meeting of the Fund for the Preservation of Open Areas, chaired by Yaakov Quint, director of the Israel Land Authority. Additionally, NIS 200 million was approved for the rehabilitation of areas affected by war in the North and South.
A total of 330 requests were submitted to the fund, amounting to NIS 1.58 billion ($535 m.). The majority of requests came from local authorities, with 217 requests submitted by 103 different local authorities and 29 requests from minority authorities.
Among the approved projects are the Western Galilee, Naaman Marshes Park, and the restoration of the Western Canal in Jordan.
The fund received approximately 138 applications for on-site execution or implementation planning, 30 for survey or research, 49 for planning, 64 for implementing accessibility measures, 20 for land purchases, and 29 applications for implementation in climate contexts.
According to Minister of Construction and Housing Yitzhak Goldknopf, “The Fund for the Preservation of Open Areas, as the arm of the Israel Land Authority, has approved approximately NIS 400 million for various projects that will allow the Israeli public to enjoy restored and accessible areas. In addition to investing in the green areas and nature of our country, we encourage the rehabilitation and development of areas affected by past wars, which will soon flourish once again.”
Quint expressed the fund’s commitment to balancing conservation and development, making open spaces accessible for recreation and leisure, and preserving heritage sites, history and environmental aspects important for flora and fauna. He explained that the fund’s budget is derived annually from the authority’s revenues and reflects the scope of the its activities and revenues in 2022.
The Fund for the Preservation of Open Areas, operating for approximately a decade, aims to promote preservation, environmental development, and cultivation of open areas outside urban ones. It supports projects related to the preservation of biological diversity and ecosystems, parks, recreational areas, and the achievement of its goals.
The fund collaborates with various entities, including government ministries, statutory authorities, municipal bodies, and government companies, to preserve and develop open areas. Since its establishment, it has budgeted over 1,000 different projects, totaling around one and a half billion shekels, for the cultivation and development of open areas in Israel.
A quarter of the fund’s budget is dedicated to restoring, preserving, and developing projects for public benefit, as well as conservation and development in large park and recreation areas.
The fund publishes annual calls for content, programs, and preservation and development actions aligned with its goals. Each project is evaluated based on its compliance with these rules.
Additionally, the fund supports government-approved projects that meet its criteria, aids in the restoration of natural damages, and finances and promotes projects in open areas that align with its goals. It is expected that a new call for ventures to be budgeted in 2024 will soon be published.