Israel News

The Amazing Story of Israel’s Forests

The Land of Israel today has many forests and other luscious plant life, but it wasn’t always this way.

Learn the inspiring story of how Zionist pioneers planted trees all over the country and made the desert bloom, creating an Israeli tradition of tree-planting that lasts to this day!

A century ago, the landscape of Israel was suffering from severe deforestation and was a stark contrast from its current lush, green expanse. However, the transformative vision of Zionist pioneers would soon change the face of the Land of Israel, with their monumental project to plant trees and cultivate forests, setting in motion a reforestation revolution that would shape the environmental destiny of the nation!

Forests as part of the Zionist Vision
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In the early 1900s, the land that would become the state of Israel was suffering from deforestation and lack of trees, leading to environmental issues such as soil erosion and loss of biodiversity, which impacted human quality of life as well. Centuries of human activity, including agriculture, urbanization, and war, had taken a toll on the once verdant landscapes.

With the rise of the Zionist movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, waves of Jewish immigrants settled in the historic Land of Israel with the goal of eventually establishing an independent, self-sustaining state. Taking stewardship and responsibility for the land and its future, these pioneers recognized the importance of ecological preservation and sustainable living, and this included the need for reforestation.

 

Forested landscape in northern Israel today

 

To address the environmental challenges, the Jewish National Fund or Keren Kayemet LeYisrael (KKL-JNF) emerged as a pivotal force in the reforestation efforts. The organization became a driving force behind tree planting initiatives in Israel, encouraging the local Jewish population to actively participate in transforming the arid landscapes.

In addition, KKL-JNF launched fundraising campaings in Jewish communities around the world, which not only successfully financed their forest-planting efforts, but allowed Jews everywhere to feel a direct connection to the Land of Israel by directly helping to revitalize it.

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Successfully making the Desert Bloom
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Over the years, the relentless efforts of Zionist pioneers and subsequent generations bore fruit – quite literally! Large forests all over Israel became living testaments to the transformative power of afforestation, Zionist vision, and love of the Land. These lush green havens have helped combat soil erosion, provided habitats for diverse flora and fauna, and contributed to the preservation of biodiversity, slowing climate change, and making Israel a more habitatable place for all.

The greening of Israel not only had profound environmental implications but also became an integral part of the cultural identity of the nation. The Jewish National Fund/Keren Kayemet LeYisrael would become a beloved national institution, with its collection drives and tree-planting initiatives symbolizing Zionist hope, determination, and ingenuity.

 

Shokeda Forest in southern Israel today

 

To this day, KKL-JNF continues maintaining and developing Israel's forests, and planting new trees every year. It has become a popular tradition among Israelis and Jews around the world to donate to the organization in order to "sponsor" one's own tree somewhere in the Land of Israel.

 

And in honor of Tu BiShvat, known in Jewish tradition as the "New Year of the Trees," we're helping our customers plant their own trees in Israel!

Purchase your own tree directly through site, or get a FREE tree with any order of a $100+ through January 31. Read the full details of our offer here.

Celebrate Israel and its nature by shopping our special Tu BiShvat collection, Tree of Life-themed items, and other magnificent gifts from Israeli artists right on our site.

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