"Over a year ago, we were deciding how to include KKL-JNF, with its history and accomplishments, into Israel's sixtieth anniversary. We agreed to organize a mission of journalists from all over the world, the first of its kind to be sponsored by KKL-JNF. As I am certain we have lessons to learn, we want to hear any feedback you would like to share with us." These were the opening remarks of Avi Dickstein, Director of KKL-JNF's Resources & Development Division, at the concluding session of a week jam-packed with activities, kilometers and experiences for journalists from all over the world on their visit to Israel, from Kiryat Shmona in the north to Eilat in the south.
An intensive discussion on the week's activities followed, during which most of the journalists described their own particular vantage point and the topics they had found especially interesting.
The mission concluded the visit to Israel and KKL-JNF sites with an eye-opening morning tour of the Eilat Bird-watching Park. The guests were privileged to see how migrating birds were caught in a net, had rings attached to their legs and were set free to continue their flight. Noam Weiss, one of the center's experts, was holding a five-gram member of the warbler family that he described as "a real champion." It turned out that this small bird flies the huge distance from cold Norway to South Africa and back again twice a year!
After a thorough description of the energy conserving mechanisms that enable such small birds to survive these huge distances, the group walked the newly renovated paths of the bird-watching park, which had been severely damaged by huge floods two years ago, now restored with the contributions of Friends of KKL-JNF Switzerland and America. The journalists were amazed at the comprehensive explanation of how the park's minimal area of land and biomass is utilized for millions of migrating birds, for whom the park is a critical "fill-up" station. In actual fact, the park has become significantly smaller over the last sixty years due to Eilat's urban development, tourism infrastructures and industries that have also destroyed the park's flora, which is the bird's main source of food.
The renaissance of the Bird-watching Park, the return of "trans-continental" flights of birds and the great efforts of those flights were a final symbol of the renewal, continuation and efforts of KKL-JNF throughout Israel.
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