Watch Live! Tuesday, 1 August • 5 pm Israel Time|10 am EST
In a one-on-one interview with Erica Schachne, editor of the Jerusalem Post Magazine, Noah Tal, director of planning division at Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), explains why forests are vital for the land of Israel and its residents.
“A forest is much more than just trees,” says Tal, who explains that most of the forest land in Israel is owned by the state and needs to be part of the planning process for the entire country. Forests in Israel serve two primary purposes – acting as a rich ecological system and serving Israel’s residents as a recreational area that is free and open to the public throughout the year.
Tal explains that education is the most important way of protecting the country’s forests. “We educate the public about the importance of the country’s forests, both in the formal and informal educational systems,” she says.
In response to Schachne’s query about the public’s role in protecting and preserving Israel’s forests, Tal says that those who visit the forest should not leave their trash behind and should act in a way that respects the environment and others in the forest.
Since 2010, says Tal, KKL-JNF has placed a significant emphasis on providing increased trail accessibility in Israel’s forests for all members of the public, including those who are in wheelchairs and those who are transporting babies in strollers. In addition, KKL-JNF is working to encourage the Ministry of Transportation to increase the accessibility of public transportation to the forests. “Israel is the first country in the world to have a master plan for the use of bicycles in the forests,” says Tal. “We are promoting the use of public transportation to KKL recreation areas and forests so that you can take your bike on public transportation to the forest and travel in the forest with your bicycle."
“Life in Israel without the forests would be very sad. It is a part of our quality of life,” says Tal.