Danny Atar: “For each tree that was burned, we’ll plant two new ones”.
In a statement, KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar said today (November 29, 2016) that the most immediate challenge facing KKL-JNF is the mobilization of all its departments and partners in Israel and abroad to rehabilitate the parks and forests that were critically damaged in the recent wave of fires.
An early assessment of the situation that was presented by KKL-JNF professionals, which is based on data collected from throughout Israel, estimates that 600,000 trees in about 4,150 acres of forests and natural woodlands managed by KKL-JNF went up in flames. An early assessment of the damage estimates that the basic cost of rehabilitation, without infrastructure, and including the purchase of equipment necessary for managing firefighting systems in the future, is about 36 million shekels.
Danny Atar said: “Since its inception, the state of Israel has fought difficult battles against its enemies, and was always victorious in the end. This will also be the case now. This is truly a war against the despicable forces of terror, which - besides the fires that broke out due to the extreme dryness and strong winds - intentionally set fire to parks and forests, even in the heart of communities and neighborhoods – with the intention of spreading fear, destruction and loss of human lives. This time also, we will be victorious in the end.
Atar went on to say that “whoever thought they could deter us by terror-inspired arson was very mistaken. Israel’s spirit is strong and determined. Whoever wanted to scar our country’s lands and to turn flowering green lands into heaps of ashes – failed. I promise that for every tree that was burned, we’ll plant two new ones. The work of rehabilitation is not simple, it will take time, patience and resources. I believe that thanks to the determination and professionalism that characterize our organization, and with the support of our dear partners abroad, we will restore our forests as quickly as possible and color Israel green once again.”
Atar’s comments reflect KKL-JNF’s tireless work in the burnt areas, and the immediate mobilization of its entire staff as part of the national effort.
In this context, it is important to commend KKL-JNF’s foresters, who courageously faced the fires raging in the forests, groves and parks and risked their lives to help save lives and Israel’s woodlands.
It should be emphasized that KKL-JNF’s role did not end there, and the very fact that it opened its field and forest centers to citizens and families who were evacuated from their homes earned the organization a great deal of praise. In addition, the Israeli public was inspired to volunteer for activities in forest rehabilitation.
We would also like to emphasize, with great pride, the immediate response of KKL-JNF’s friends and supporters throughout the world, who, through our international offices, expressed their unity and solidarity with Israel from the very first moment, and committed themselves to contributing towards the welfare Israel and its citizens, and future forest rehabilitation.