Barkat denounces government plan to build housing complex on capital’s nature preserve

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Tuesday condemned a proposal by the government to build a large residential apartment complex on the capital’s Mitzpeh Naftoah nature park, located south of Ramot.
In an announcement on Monday, the Housing Ministry stated that the reserve represented a “priority area” for housing considerations, and would be rezoned to make room for some 1,400 apartments.
When Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabai said he supported the move after a blueprint was presented by the Israel lands Authority without Barkat’s knowledge, the mayor issued a strongly-worded statement accusing the authority of “crudely thumbing its nose at the municipality’s policy.”
“Mitzpeh Naftoah is one of the principal green lungs of the city, which according to experts, contains one of the unique natural sites in the world in terms of its wealth of biodiversity – including a wide range of local wildlife, such as the largest herd of gazelles in the Judean Hills and other animals,” he said.
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