KKL-JNF Tree and Plant Nurseries 758x530.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund has decided to sever the organization’s relationship with the Israel Lands Authority and manage areas under its jurisdiction independently.
By deciding not to renew the “historic convention” between KKL-JNF and the government of Israel, the organization’s board of directors said on Thursday that the move will create a competitive market and lower housing prices.
The decision occurred after a failure of all efforts at dialogue with government representatives to stop the nationalization of KKL-JNF assets, according to the organization.
“The conduct of the state and the Israel Lands Authority is a fundamental breach of the treaty signed in 1961, between KKL-JNF and the Israeli government, and harming all the inhabitants of Israel and the Jewish people,” a statement from KKL-JNF said. “We will not allow for the elimination of the Zionist enterprise and the projects that KKL implements with its money for the good of the public – forests, parks, bike paths, land reclamation, water reservoirs, projects in peripheral areas and others – in order to cover the financial deficits created by the Treasury.”
The decision to separate from the ILA occurred unanimously, with all 37 members from across the political spectrum voting for the division, KKLJNF said.
From its establishment through today KKL-JNF has invested more than NIS 100 billion in its land and forest development projects in Israel. The organization accused the state of attempting to nationalize these investments Among the consequences of the decision will be the freezing of projects undertaken by KKL-JNF for the benefit of Israel’s residents, as well as the termination of forest planting and caring for state land – valued at about NIS 350 million annually, the organization said.
There will be an immediate cessation in the funding of about one-third of the ILA’s budget and a stoppage to marketing and management of KKL-JNF lands by the authority, it continued.
“The transition to independent marketing of KKL-JNF lands will lead to increased competition and a reduction in housing prices,” the KKL-JNF statement added.
When The Jerusalem Post requested a response from the ILA, a spokeswoman for the authority said that a response must come from the Finance Ministry.
The Finance Ministry, in turn, said that the ministry “deals with advancing and implementing the government decision on KKL-JNF.”
“However, for the good of national development interests, if KKL-JNF chooses to take drastic, one-sided measures, the state will weigh its actions,” the Finance Ministry added.