Grounds of the Druyanov 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Save the Florentine Garden)
The Agriculture Ministry’s chief forester has abolished the Tel Aviv
Municipality’s plans to uproot trees growing on school grounds in the city’s
This motion follows massive appeals from
residents of the neighborhood and Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel
In a letter to Tel Aviv Municipal Forest Officer Shmuel
Katzelnik on Sunday, Agriculture Ministry Chief Forest Officer Hagai Snir
revoked a license the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa had received that would have
allowed for massive tree excision on the grounds of the Druyanov
The municipality had planned to erect a new building for the
school in an area zoned for public buildings.
This area is currently in
use as a public park and green lung along the border of the Florentine
neighborhood, Snir wrote in his letter.
The project originally received
approval on August 6, and the municipality had planned to complete the work
within two years.
To construct the building, 12 trees would have needed
removal and 22 would have required shifting, Snir said.
Many of the trees
are Indian Rosewoods that are 50 years old or older, and there are some very old
and large Chinese Banyans as well.
After the project received approval in
August, the Agriculture Ministry received a slew of appeals, both from SPNI and
from about 150 individual residents of the area, Snir wrote.
appeals, the residents claimed that this garden was “the only significant green
lung in the neighborhood, from a scenic, ecological and aesthetic perspective,”
according to Snir.
In addition to the trees themselves, the Druyanov
garden area attracts many butterflies and birds that would otherwise disappear
from the area, the residents said.
Although “there is no doubt that the
construction of a school is a positive and welcome action that the
neighborhood’s residents need urgently,” the residents stressed that such
construction must not occur “at the expense of the only green lung in the
neighborhood,” Snir said.
A better alternative for the new school, in the
residents’ opinion, would be a plot on the opposite side of the road.
addition, while the city draws up new plans for construction, minimal
renovations can be done on the existing building to allow for continued
temporary use, the residents said.
“After examining the data and
conducting a professional tour of the area affected by the appeal, it is clear
that in this case, the importance of the trees as a group – which constitutes a
green lung – takes precedence over the importance of each tree individually,”
Snir wrote in his decision.
Largely agreeing with the residents’ claims,
he said that it was difficult to find a group of old rosewood trees in the south
Tel Aviv area with similar environmental value, and he called the garden “the
only significant green lung in Florentine.”