Space Matters: Historic Drivers and Turning Points In Israel's Open Space Protection Policy

By Alon Tal

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Spring 2008

The article considers the history of open space preservation in Israel from the inception of the state until the present. The primary modes for protecting open spaces are assessed: nature reserves, forests, and agriculturally designated lands. While present frameworks ensure that reserves and forests remain well-protected, there has been significant erosion in the normative protection of agricultural lands, reflected in their steady decline. Three encouraging recent developments are considered. The first is a new masterplan for Israel (number 35) that was approved by the government in 2005. While not without its flaws, the plan constitutes an important formal open space for Israel. Economic analysis, previously unexploited, is also increasingly quantifying the benefits of open spaces. Relentless activism across the country has produced a litany of achievements for open space preservation advocates. The article closes with a review of present challenges to open spaces including illegal construction in the agricultural and Bedouin sectors as well as the isolated settlement program. While Israeli public policy has made open space preservation a higher priority, as population density rises, the demand for land promises make open space preservation an ongoing national challenge.

Topic: Agriculture, Environment, Statehood, Activism, Bedouins, Farming, Public Policy

Name of Publication: Israel Studies

Volume/Issue: Vol.13/no.1

Page Number(s): 119-151

Genre: Scholarly Journal

Coverage: Negev, Israel

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Author

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Tal, Alon. Space Matters: Historic Drivers and Turning Points In Israel's Open Space Protection Policy. Israel Studies. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev,Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. Spring 2008: 119-151.


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