Israel Nature and Parks Authority
|part of Ministry of the Environment|
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority (Hebrew: רשות הטבע והגנים Rashut Hateva Vehaganim; Arabic: سلطة الطبيعة والحدائق) is an Israeli government organization that manages nature reserves and national parks in Israel, the Golan Heights and parts of the West Bank. The organization was founded in April 1998, merging two organizations (The National Parks Authority and the Nature Reserves Authority) that had managed the nature reserves and national parks separately since 1964. The director of the Authority is Shaul Goldstein.
The symbol of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority is the ibex, a mountain goat similar to the antelope. One of the missions of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority is enforcing Israeli wildlife protection laws.
As of 2015, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority was the overseer of 400 nature reserves and 81 national parks, covering over 20 percent of Israel’s land mass. The coverage of the Authority has grown fairly rapidly. For example, in 2007 the Authority oversaw only 69 national parks and 190 nature reserves - a doubling of reserves in only 8 years.
All parks and nature reserves are divided into six regions:
- Golan Heights, Sea of Galilee, and Galilee
- Lower Galilee and their valleys
- Mount Carmel, the coast, and central Israel
- Judean Desert and The Dead Sea
- The Negev
- Eliat and the Arava
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel has criticized decisions be the Nature and Parks Authority's policies on several occasions, claiming that they have harmed nature reserves in various ways. Let the Animals Live has also claimed that the Authority was harming animals.
In 2007, scientists and nature conservation organizations opposed the extension of CEO Eli Amitay's appointment for a second term, citing claims regarding the Authority's conservation policies during his first term, but the government approved the appointment nonetheless. In 2011, Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Erdan sought to depose Amitay, claiming that he is acting against public interest. As a result, Amitay retired a year earlier than planned. In December of the same year, Shaul Goldstein, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council was appointed as CEO by a government committee.
In October 2017, the Authority came under public criticism when a visitor to Avshalom Cave observed that none of the instructional material in the cave contained an estimate of its age, and a local guide claimed that this was due to pressure by the ultra-Orthodox population, which was later confirmed by media outlets. After the affair, the authority announced that the material will be corrected and the CEO "called for an examination of all instructional material to ensure that it conforms to scientific truth".
- Israel Declares Five New National Parks and Nature Reserves Haaretz. Zafrir Rinat. 27/06/17. Retrieved 16/05/18
- 1001 Facts Everyone Should Know About Israel, Mitchell Geoffrey Bard and Moshe Schwartz
- Genetic characterization of the golden jackal and the red fox in Israel
- Where the Golan’s rivers flow into the Sea of Galilee The Times of Israel. Aviva and Shmuel Bar-am. 29/08/15. Retrieved:16/05/18.
- Science-based conservation workshop
- Scandal: the Nature and Parks Authority is Selling Nature
- Development or Neglect? The Struggle over the Development Program in HaBonim Beach
- Oil Drilling Approved in the "Judea Desert" Nature Reserve
- Does the Nature and Parks Authority Like Animals?
- A Second Term for the Nature and Parks Authority CEO Despite Criticism
- Nature and Parks Authority CEO to Retire in July
- Head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council to be Appointed CEO of the Nature and Parks Authority
- The Cave Scandal: Respecting Haredi Feelings
- On the Nature and Parks Authority's Facebook page