Residents vow to get city tree-chopping plan axed

Residents of Rehov Ibn Gvirol and at least one Tel Aviv city councilor have vowed to fight against the city's plans to cut down the veteran Indian rosewood trees lining the length of the street, reports The residents are planning an appeal to the Agriculture Ministry to stop the city, which has already cut down the trees in the southern part of the street and recently began work in the central part. According to the report, the city began cutting down the trees - known in Hebrew as "sissam" and in English as shisham or Indian rosewood - as part of general renovations being done along the length of the street. About 20 trees are still slated to be removed. A municipal spokesman said the trees were ill and were showing damage caused by age, and they would be replaced by "more attractive trees than the existing ones that will provide shade for pedestrians and even absorb carbon and smoke." The spokesman said any uprooted trees that were still healthy would be replanted elsewhere in the city. But residents say the large old trees provide shade and greenery in a busy urban area, and "are neither sick nor ugly." A residents' action committee has been set up to plan an appeal to the Agriculture Ministry, and at least one city councilor, Reuben Ladianski, has joined the residents' protests. Ladianski said a meeting should be held between residents and city officials before any irreversible actions were taken.