Location, Location, Location
Understanding the JNF/KKL Land Swap
June 30, 2009
A land reform is on the table whereby JNF-KKL will swap with the Israeli government developed (privatized) land it owns in the center of the country for undeveloped land in the Negev and the Galilee. This will allow the 107-year-old organization to continue to develop the land of Israel on behalf of its owners — Jewish people everywhere and proves beneficial in the following ways:
• JNF-KKL owns 13% of the land in Israel on behalf of Jewish people and that will not diminish; if anything it may increase.
• Of the approximate 2,600,000 dunams JNF-KKL owns, it is only swapping 70,000 dunams of developed land. The remaining dunams, used for agriculture or for other purposes, will remain under JNF-KKL’s ownership.
• JNF-KKL will receive vacant land in the Negev and the Galil dunam for dunam. The lands are being evaluated by the JNF-KKL Land Committee. JNF-KKL has agreed to invest in the development of that land (Blueprint Negev) as we have done throughout time. This maintains our partnership with the people of Israel.
• The timetable for this swap and subsequent development is spread out over a period of
10 – 15 years.
• This reform will eliminate JNF-KKL’s exposure in the current lawsuits in the Supreme Court pending against it. The Attorney General has declared the land exchange as the solution to the problem.
• An additional $100 million has been guaranteed to JNF-KKL in lieu of the current land leases whose future economic value is uncertain. This money will enable JNF-KKL to engage in sound business planning and budgeting knowing exactly how much money they have as opposed to being unsure what kind of money is coming in from leases. This money will not be taxed as income, nor will land that become developed over time.
• With the reform, JNF-KKL will continue to be entitled to complete exemption from taxes; without this future land lease income would be deemed taxable income.
• JNF-KKL will receive 5 out of 12 seats on a new Israel Land Authority being formed as well as chairmanship positions in sub-committees and will retain a strong voice and say in land issues.
Most importantly, this land reform ensures that the ideology of JNF-KKL remains relevant in today’s world and the work it does stays vital and necessary. One hundred years ago, some of the first dunams of land purchased by JNF-KKL were sand dunes in Tel Aviv and swamp lands in the Hula. Today, the former is a bustling metropolis, and the latter a world-renowned site for nature observation and photography. The land reform enables JNF-KKL to strengthen the peripheries of the country and continue the Zionist dream.