NEW YORK (Mar. 27)
The Jewish National Fund has embarked on a new program to enhance Israel’s industrial capacity, create new facilities to promote tourism, and to move from rural to urban development.
Moshe Rivlin, world chairman of the JNF, said in a press conference here this week that the JNF’s new major task involves the planting of tens of thousands of trees around the sites of factories being built in outlying areas in the Negev and the Galilee. “These trees will serve not only to beautify the area and anchor the soil. They will also serve as wind-breakers to protect the new industrial enterprises that Israel needs to achieve economic independence,” Rivlin said.
Another priority project for the JNF, Rivlin said, is to develop camping and recreational facilities that would attract large numbers of tourists to Galilee, the Arava and the Timna Valley in the Negev near Eilat. So far, the JNF leader reported, 600 picnic areas, 32 fully developed recreation areas and five camp-sites had been built by the JNF–with 22 additional camps now under construction.
The JNF is also planting trees and creating forests around new development towns, as well as parks, sports fields and recreational areas for inner-city residents of Israel’s major urban areas, Rivlin said, adding: “Today, JNF operates in urban as well as rural areas, making a new departure in JNF’s traditional task of building up the land of Israel. This new responsibility will take an increasing share of JNF resources in the future.”
According to Rivlin, JNF’s budget for this year is about $50 million. Dr. Samuel Cohen, JNF’s executive vice president in the U.S. said the JNF here will send about $10 million, a record, to Israel this year for land reclamation and afforestation projects.