"Imagine what it was like in 1950, just after the state of Israel was founded, when people basically had no idea what kinds of trees would succeed in Israel. Not all of them survived, but there were enough left for us to start again and create this unique tree museum." KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler was speaking on Friday, May 1, at the dedication ceremony of the newly rehabilitated Ilanot National Arboretum not far from Netanya. "Our next goal is to plant special flowers here that blossom during the different seasons of the year," Mr. Stenzler continued. "This is a site that will attract not only local residents, but also people from all over Israel."
KKL-JNF Central Region Director Haim Messing noted that Ilanot is a very unique site, "not only for Israel, but also worldwide, thanks to the many species of trees that are concentrated on such a small parcel of land. An incredible amount of details had to be dealt with when we decided to rehabilitate this site, and the KKL-JNF employees did an amazing job."
Aviv Eisenband, Director of the KKL-JNF Seeds and Nurseries Department, noted that Ilanot now has over 300 different species of trees that originated in 25 different habitats, along with 2.5 km of fully accessible paths with benches for visitors. In addition, Ilanot has the largest collection of various strands of eucalyptus trees in Israel.
Yael Banin, KKL-JNF Volunteers
Director, described the Ilanot volunteer program, which began about half a year ago. "Volunteers identify and report hazards, educate forest visitors about keeping our open spaces clean, and much more. Here in Ilanot they also make sure that all the signs and interactive games are working. We also encourage the volunteers to come up with their own initiatives – for example, one of them who was injured as a soldier works with wood and now leads workshops here. Volunteering is about matching the needs of the organization to the needs of the volunteers."