Land Shortage and Open Landscapes
Israel has been suffering from a severe land shortage. While relatively small in size, the rapid growth of its population and the fact that land is used in a wasteful way, pose a real threat upon any remaining open land in the country. Unfortunately, without proper attention, this threat could prove irreversibly destructive to Israel’s Open spaces are the basis of life for people and natural phenomena alike. The unique natural and cultural heritage found in Israel, so meaningful to Jews, Muslims and Christians here and around the world, is found in her open landscapes. Safeguarding our open landscapes is essential for the supply of vital environmental and social services that will ensure the quality of life for Israel’s ever-growing population. The Open Landscape Institute (OLI) was established in 1992 and is directed by Yoav Sagi former director and chairman of SPNI in order to promote the protection of land resources and open spaces in Israel and the region. Goals and Areas of Activity
• Consolidating policy principles and tools intended to safeguard open spaces and achieve sustainable development. • Lobbying for the adoption of these principles and for their implementation by government authorities. • Collecting and analyzing data about open spaces and their natural, visual • Involvement in the national planning and management of open landscapes for the purpose of protecting and conserving them. • Raising awareness among planners, decision-makers and the public at large regarding the importance of open landscapes and of ways they can The OLI Think-Tank
The Open Landscape Institute operates a professional Think-Tank that consolidates the concepts and tools necessary to protect the country’s open landscapes. The Think- Tank is composed of top experts in a variety of fields related to the environment and land-use planning and management including: representatives from Israel’s universities, government ministries and authorities, environmental and planning NGO’s, as well as from the private sector. The Think Tank’s members discuss important issues and problems such as land use, planning, and the development and protection of open spaces. These discussions lead to conclusions and recommendations regarding the policy principles and tools required for proper land use and sustainable development. The results are issued in position papers that are distributed to decision-makers and relevant organizations OLI and Think Tank’s members are part of the ongoing efforts to convince planning bodies and decision-makers to adopt the Forum’s recommendations and to follow up on the implementation of these recommendations. The Survey and Evaluation Unit
The unit operates jointly with the Jewish National Fund (JNF), the ministry of Environment, Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority (INNPPA) and Tel Aviv University , surveying and evaluating open land and its natural and cultural resources. Survey data, and the recommendations resulting from their evaluation and classification, are digitally mapped and described in writing. The information is then distributed to planners, environmentalists and development authorities, to be used as background material for sustainable land-use planning and implementation SPNI’s Geographic Information System (GIS) operates within OLI’s framework. GIS collects and computerizes data gathered and processed by the Survey and Evaluation Unit. The GIS unit maps geographical, ecological and planning information a, and prepares materials for SPNI’s Department of Environmental Protection, planners and other environmental bodies and individuals. The Geographic Information System (GIS) is a useful working tool that combines environmental and planning information. The system includes a computer program that enables the collection, examination and amendment planning of extensive amounts of information (from the perspective of geometric relationships and content), its analysis (statistical and spatial), and the production of presentation maps geared to specific planning and decision-making needs. Policy and Planning at National Level
OLI promotes the integration of open space preservation principles into policies to be adopted by government authorities. To this end OLI is intensely involved in the initiation and follow up of relevant legislation in the Knesset, proposed decisions and planning initiatives in the National Building and Planning Council (where OLI Director, Yoav Sagi, represents Israel’s environmental organizations), in the Lands Authority Administration and other authorities involved with land and open spaces Tools Document for open Space Preservation
Preparation of the document recommending policies and tools for open space preservation was completed. The project, led by OLI, is part of the joint efforts of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA), the Ministry of the Environment (IME), the Interior Ministry‘s Planning Administration (IMPA), and the Jewish National Fund (JNF). In the course of working on the document, goals were crystallized, policy was determined and areas of activity described. The document recommends a set of practical tools for proper land use and open space preservation in the areas of economics and taxation, legislation, planning, administration, education and research, as well as social betterment and public participation.
Production of the document was overseen by a work committee that met frequently, and a steering committee that met bimonthly. The committees were composed of project partners, experts in related fields and representatives of various bodies associated with the topics being discussed. The policy document’s preparation process included open meetings where members of all sectors of the population could state their needs and positions regarding policies for protecting open landscapes.
Each and every one of the recommended policies and tools of the document is described as a “Tool-Box” that includes the rationale behind, as well as the steps needed to be taken, in order to promote its implementation, including the bodies who should be responsible for assimilating and implementing these policies. The Document’s abstract is attached as a supplement to this report.
Provision of Awareness and Involvement
In order to achieve awareness and involvement of decision makers, Planners, professionals and general public on issues of land destruction and the importance of preserving open space, OLI operates in the following areas: • Cooperation between professionals and decision marks in OLI Think Tank • Distribution of police documents, surveys and data about the importance and • Seminars, presentations and articles in the media as well as joint activities • Public Council for the Preservation of Landscape and the Land. Members include people of influence in the field of economics, communications, writes and public figures. The council provides important public backing for promoting the preservation of open space. Achievements
Since OLI began its work, there is much more awareness amongst planners and decision makers concerning the threats endangering the land and the necessity of preserving open spaces. The police principles for the preservation of open spaces are incorporated today in every plan of the National Building and Planning Council. Planners and environmentalists utilize the materials produced by the Institute. The result is apparent in the reduction of planning and development conflicts. Survey and evaluations conducted by OLI cover many parts of the country. Planners use the material to understand and consider the importance and environmental sensitivity when drawing up their plans. SPNI and other environmentalists utilize the materials in their battles against inappropriate development. A national survey document on open spaces has been completed and adopted by the national planning administration. Preparation has begun on an open preservation The Asdod Sand Dunes that were designated for building have been Transformed into a landscape reserve area and after many years of struggle, have become sand dune parks. Ramat Hanadiv has become a successful model for open land planning and management and a center for training and environmental education Challenges and Objectives
Awareness of threats to the land is growing, but the importance of open spaces and the immense lack of land in Israel are far from being fully understood. The legislative and legal systems have not awoken to the crucial need for the adoption of legislation and regulations for sustainable land-use policy. Real estate developers equipped with the enormous power of multi million dollars try their best to overcome sustainable land use plans. Government ministers and authorities exposed to such pressure frequently take deliberate action against open space preservation plans and decisions. SPNI’s work must be intensified in order to face up to these challenges. OLI faces • Preparation of a policy document for open space preservation and • Completion of survey and evaluation of remaining open spaces with emphasis • Advancement of legislation ensuring preservation of open spaces, and • Engagement in activities ensuring adoption of the policy recommendations • Continued tracking of National Planning Scheme, No. 35 which is going to determine the character of Israel for generations to come. • Preservation of farming land and promotion of environmental friendly • Increased awareness which will include preparation and fund raising for a major open space preservation campaign aimed at achieving a sustainable OLI’s Projects
Asdod Sand Park
SPNI has battled for many years for the preservation of the sands that strech from Ashdod to Ashkelon. The area contains the last remaining dunes along the Mediterranean coast. It is under threat of development. OLI, the Environmental Protection Department of SPNI and JNF Southern Region work in cooperation for the successful allocation of this area as a sand dune park, and to ensure the preservation of the area’s natural and scenic vales and its use for environment education and recreation. Activities include studying of the area, planning and collocation of legal protection status of the park, and development of visitation and educational programs The “Asdod Sand Park” website -
Ramat Hanadiv
Situated in the southern Carmel, Ramat Hanadiv covers 4,500 dunams of woodlands owned by Yad Hanadiv. Since the early 1980’s the Yad Hanadiv Foundation and SPNI have collaborated on planning and management of the area as an open land park OLI joined Yad Hanadiv in guiding the planning, Research, data collection and development of training and educational programs. The “Ramat Handiv” website -
Borderless Ornithological Park
OLI, together with SPNI’s Ornithology Center and the JNF Southern District have initiated a project to protect and preserve open spaces in the Arava region. The Project, which is jointly implemented by the municipal authorities in the Arava and the INNPPA, promotes a borderless bird watching park. The park, which will be located in the Arava, between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Eilat, will include natural and agricultural areas suitable for bird matching. The intention is to expand the park to the Jordanian part of the Arava jointly with the conservation organization of the The Ecological Center on Mount Meron
The Ecological Center at SPNI’s Mount Field Study Center will focus on research, professional ecological training, land-use and management of the high mountain


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