National parks and nature reserves of Israel

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Masada National Park
Ruins of the Ancient Synagogue at Bar'am National Park
Natural warm water pool at Gan HaShlosha

National parks of Israel are declared historic sites or nature reserves, which are mostly operated and maintained by the National Nature and Parks Authority. As of 2005, Israel maintains more than 150 nature reserves that protect 2,500 species of indigenous wild plants, 20 species of fish, 400 species of birds and 70 species of mammals.[1]

Some parks are located at archaeological sites such as Tel Megiddo, Beit She'an, Ashkelon and Kursi. Others, such as the Alexander stream, Mount Carmel National Park or Hurshat Tal focus on nature and the preservation of local flora and fauna. Several parks and nature reserves have camping options, such as tent grounds and bungalows, open to small groups and individual campers.[2] Some of them are located in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights and the West Bank.

In 2011, the most popular national parks were Yarkon National Park, Caesarea, Ein Gedi and Tel Dan.[3]

History[edit]

Shivta National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site

During the 19th century, the region was sparsely populated, with a population between 275,000 and 475,000.[4] Waves of immigration expanded local population needs. Forests were cut down to supply coal for heating, industry and the Turkish railway. The German Templars brought with them shotguns, quickly adopted by local peasants. The First World War was characterized by massive acquisition of firearms. By the early 20th century, hunting threatened the extinction of crocodiles, ostriches, deer, fallow deer, Syrian Brown Bears, onagers and cheetahs.

As a result, the British Mandatory government passed laws aimed at saving the local flora and fauna. In 1924 a Hunting Act was published and in 1926 a Forest Ordinance were published. Many sites, such as the forests of Mount Carmel and Mount Meron, were declared forest reserves; certain trees were declared protected.

In 1953 the Knesset passed the Wildlife Protection Law (חוק הגנת חיות-הבר) and the Minister of Agriculture was appointed for its implementation. In 1955, the department for the improvement of the country's landscape (המחלקה לשיפור נוף הארץ) was established in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office, which was assigned the establishment of tourist infrastructure. The department established a number of well-known national parks, such as Gan HaShlosha, Caesarea, Shivta and Avdat. Following the drying of the Lake Hula and the public pressure, the Hula Reserve was established, which was the first declared nature reserve in Israel (in 1964). In 1963 the Knesset approved the "National parks and nature reserves act" (חוק הגנים הלאומיים ושמורות הטבע) (the legislation process of the law began already in 1956). As a result, two authorities were established: the National Parks Authority and the Nature Reserves Authority. In 1998 the two authorities were merged into one body - Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

Parks and reserves[edit]

Nitzanim Sand Dune Park, Ashdod
Korazim National Park

National parks of Israel[edit]

Name Region
Akhziv Beach National Park Northern district: Western Galilee
Alexander River National Park Central district
Appolonia National Park
Ashkelon National Park Central district: Southern coast
Avdat National Park Southern district: The Negev
Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve Northern district: Upper Galilee
Bar'am National Park Northern district: Upper Galilee
Beit Alfa Synagogue National Park Northern district: Jezreel Valley
Beit Guvrin National Park Central district
Beit She'an National Park Northern district: Beit She'an valley
Beit She'arim National Park Northern district: Jezreel Valley
Caesarea National Park Northern district: Sharon plain coast
Castel National Park Central district: Jerusalem corridor
Cochav Hayarden National Park Northern district: Lower Galilee
Korazim National Park Northern district: Upper Galilee
Sde Boker National Park Southern district: The Negev
Ein Avdat National Park Southern district: The Negev
Ein Gedi Antiquities National Park Southern district: Judean Desert and The Dead Sea
Ein Hemed National Park Central district: Jerusalem corridor
Eshkol National Park (Besor) Southern district: The Negev
Gan Hashlosha National Park Northern district: Jezreel Valley
Hamat Tiberias National Park Northern district: Sea of Galilee
Tel Hazor National Park
Harod Spring National Park Northern district: Jezreel Valley
Herodion National Park1 Southern district: Judean Desert/West bank
Hermon National Park1 Northern district: Golan Heights
Kursi National Park1 Northern district: Golan Heights
Hurshat Tal National Park Northern district: Upper Galilee
Mamshit National Park Southern district: The Negev
Masada National Park Southern district: Judean Desert and The Dead Sea
Mount Carmel National Park Northern district: Mt. Carmel
Nimrod Fortress National Park (Qal‘at Namrud)1 Northern district: Golan Heights
Qumran National Park1 Southern district: Judean Desert and The Dead Sea
Ramon Park Southern district: The Negev
HaSharon Park Central district: Sharon plain
Shivta National Park Southern district: The Negev
Shomron National Park1 Central district: Samaria/West bank
Tel Arad National Park Southern district: Judean Desert and The Dead Sea
Tel Be'er Sheva National Park Southern district: The Negev
Tel Hazor National Park Northern district: Upper Galilee
Tel Megiddo National Park Northern district: Jezreel Valley
Yarkon National Park Central district: Yarkon River, and central Israel
Yehi'am Fortress National Park Northern district: Upper Galilee
Zippori National Park Northern district: Lower Galilee and the valleys
Nahal Me'arot Nature Reserve - World Heritage Site
Crusader ruins at Ein Hemed National Park
Nahal Taninim in northern Israel

Nature reserves of Israel[edit]

Name Region
Alonei Yitzhak Northern district
Alonei Abba Northern district: Jezreel Valley
Nahal Amud Northern district: Upper Galilee
Ashdod Nitzanim Sand Dune Park Central district: Shephelah, southern Israeli Coastal Plain
Avshalom (Stalactites) Cave Central district: Central Israel
Nahal Betzet Northern district: Upper Galilee
Balfouria Northern district: Jezreel Valley
Bitan Aharon Northern district: Sharon plain
Carmel Hai-Bar Nature Reserve Northern district: Mt. Carmel
Coral Beach Nature Reserve Eilat region: Eliat and the Arava
Dor and Ma'agan Michael beach islands Northern district: Mt. Carmel coast
Ein Afek Nature Reserve Northern district: Western Galilee
Ein Gedi Nature Reserve Southern district: Judean Desert and The Dead Sea
Ein Prat Nature Reserve1[5] Jerusalem district
Ein Tzukim Nature Reserve Southern district:Judean Desert and The Dead Sea
Gamla Nature Reserve1 Northern district: Golan Heights
Hurshat Tal Northern district: Upper Galilee
Hula Valley Nature Reserve Northern district: Hula Valley
Kerem Ben Zimra Northern district: Upper Galilee
Nahal Kziv Northern district: Upper Galilee
Mount Arbel Northern district: Lower Galilee
Mount Gilboa Northern district
Mount Meron Northern district: Upper Galilee
Mount Tabor Northern district: Lower Galilee
Nahal Tavor Northern district: Lower Galilee
Nahal Me'arot Nature Reserve - World Heritage Site[6] Northern district: Mt. Carmel
Nahal Ayun Northern district: Upper Galilee
Neot Kedumim Central district: near Modi'in and the Ben Shemen forest
Pa'ar Cave Northern district: Upper Galilee
Nahal Poleg Central district: Sharon Plain
Rosh HaNikra Northern district: Western Galilee
Shimron Northern district: Jezreel Valley
Nahal Taninim Northern district: Mt. Carmel coast
Tel Dan Nature Reserve Northern district: Upper Galilee
Tel Anafa Northern district: Upper Galilee
Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve1 Northern district: Golan Heights, Sea of Galilee, and Galilee
Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve Eilat region: Eliat and the Arava
Zakum (Maoz Haim) Northern district: Beit She'an valley

1Located in the Israeli-occupied territories.


See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]