State Comptroller Joseph Shapira called for the establishment of a joint council between the government and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund for policy-making regarding forests, in a section on forest preservation in his latest report, released on Wednesday.
From May through July 2013, the State Comptroller examined efforts with the Agriculture Ministry, the Environmental Protection Ministry, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and KKL-JNF concerning the preservation and rehabilitation of forests. Such an examination was critical as forests can shelter plants and animals, protect soil erosion, block movements of dust and noise and contribute to overall ecological balance, the report said.
The Agriculture Ministry must take immediate action in the establishment of the joint council between the government and KKL-JNF, and the minister must task his officials with completing steps necessary for enacting legislation that will regulate the preservation of forests, the state comptroller report said. In addition, Shapira stressed that forest planting should occur only within the bounds of the National Outline Plan for Forestry 22 (NOP-22), which requires the submission of detailed plans for planning authority review.