Operation Northern Renewal - Why
Why is your help needed?
- Four thousand rockets were fired into northern Israel throughout the month-long war with Hezbollah. When rockets were reported to have fallen in “open areas,” they landed in the Galilee’s forests and nature reserves, destroying 2 million trees and 20,000 acres of land.
- 20% of the forests in northern Israel were burned during the war. More trees burned during this period than are normally lost to forest fires over five years.
- Aside from destroying trees, the fires also degraded the soil quality, which took 50 years to develop as well. Much of the nutrient-rich topsoil was burnt away, and, in some areas, the soil was baked into a hard outer crust, preventing the infiltration of rainwater and increasing soil erosion, floods, and mudslides.
- Restoring the forests will be a long, gradual process. Forests that took 50 years to develop will now take another 50-60 years to recover.
- First, the full extent of the damage must be assessed by air and ground teams.
- Then, forests must be cleaned, dead trees removed, and ground prepared for replanting.
- After foresters check sites for natural renewal, new planting will begin.
- JNF-KKL nurseries have started to prepare 200,000 new seedlings for planting in addition to the usual stock used under normal circumstances.
- Forests that previously consisted solely of pine trees will be replanted with indigenous species such as oak, cypress and pistachio.
- Destruction of the forests has altered the food chain and destroyed the habitat of forest-dwelling wildlife.
- Nesting and roosting sites, forage and food sources, dens and lairs have all been decimated.
- While some larger animals managed to escape the fires, most slow-moving animals, reptiles and insects were killed.
- The habitat must be restored in order to facilitate nature’s healing process.
- The conflict has exposed and highlighted an urgent need to repair and replace the aging fleet of fire trucks. New compact fire trucks -- which are much smaller than traditional fire trucks and can be quickly deployed in any emergency situation -- must be purchased and put into service.
- In addition to trucks, firefighters and foresters must be prepared for future events with planes, fire retardant chemicals, safety equipment, and hoses. Hydrants must also be installed in forests.
- Tourism is the lifeblood of the lush, green Galilee region.
- JNF forests and parks are the “jewels of the north,” providing beauty, tranquility, and recreation for tourists and residents. These sites not only enhance the quality of life of the area’s residents, but also impact the social and economic viability of the north.
- Existing parks and recreation areas that were damaged must be restored and enhanced and new ones developed.
- All new facilities will be built to be inclusive and existing sites will be upgraded.
- On a normal basis, the Hula Park grosses around 1 billion shekels; it has been badly damaged. Rockets that landed in the Hula Lake ignited the marsh gas of the peat bogs, causing underground fires.
- As soon as the ceasefire began, the area had to be flooded with water to put out these fires.
- By rehabilitating the park we are returning needed revenue to the north, ensuring jobs, and promoting tourism.
- The JNF-KKL security roads along the Lebanese border played an integral role in protecting citizens of the region and saved lives during the recent conflict. Because of the heavy use by the army and civilians, they must be repaired and repaved.
- Construction of new roads, like the ones on the border with Gaza, must be completed.