JNF will distribute free firewood in northern Israel to cut down on illegal tree felling.
This is the third year that Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael will offer the dead trees and branches that have been removed in the course of regular pruning and forest maintenance.
JNF rangers and foresters attribute the increase in the number of people illegally cutting down trees in JNF forests mainly to the rising price of fuel and people’s need to heat their homes in winter.
“We believe that a large number of those who cut down trees are motivated by financial distress,” said Omri Boneh, director of JNF’s northern region. “Now we have provided a special area, which on the one hand allows the woodland to be thinned under supervision in an organized fashion thereby conserving the trees, and on the other hand provides people with wood for heating their homes in the traditional manne”.
JNF charges $18 per ton, which is enough to cover expenses. Fines for illegal tree felling can rise to $3,360 and/or six months imprisonment; every year 70-120 cases are brought to court.
Last year 2,000 tons of wood were distributed to Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druse. A similar figure is anticipated for this year.