Moving Forward with the Galilee

Israel's beautiful northern region is full of natural and cultural landscapes; historical sites reflecting a rich human tapestry. KKL-JNF, with the support of its Friends worldwide, is committed to ensuring the sustainable development of this peripheral region.

Major Development Plans for Israel's North Underway

August 20, 2018: Finance Ministry, PMO and KKL-JNF present list of finalized projects to be carried out as part of the assigned budget for the socio-economic development of Israel’s northern region.

The Galilee is...


A national priority

  • Israel’s northern scenic gem with unique natural habitats and landscapes.
  • Israel’s major green lung with the largest concentration of forests, woodlands and springs in the country.
  • Israel’s northern periphery in need of a helping hand to attract people from the center seeking a better quality of life.
  • A meeting point for varied ethnic and religious groups, living together and promoting coexistence.

Only KKL-JNF has the expertise to develop the Galilee sensibly and sustainably!

Children in Hula Lake Park. Photo by Yossi Zamir, KKL-JNF Photo Archive

An environmental priority

The Galilee is Israel’s greenest region, thanks to its climate and natural vegetation. KKL-JNF plays a leading role in nurturing existing and new forests throughout the region.

  • KKL-JNF plants new trees and tends the Galilee’s natural woodlands.
  • KKL-JNF restores fire-damaged forests and works to prevent future wildfires.
  • KKL-JNF uses a diverse approach to forestry, creating forests composed of conifers and broad-leaved species, focusing on species best suited to the Mediterranean climate.
  • KKL-JNF prepares plans for preserving forests and open spaces from urban encroachment.


Read more:
The first Akko conference on Urbanism

KKL-JNF is creating a better and brighter environmental future for the Galilee!


A water management priority

The Galilee is Israel’s rainiest region, but is still considered relatively dry by world standards. Although the Galilee has many springs and streams, they are plagued by pollution and misuse.

  • KKL-JNF is a key player in rehabilitating the Hula Valley that prevents pollutants from reaching Lake Kinneret, Israel’s major source of drinking water.
  • KKL-JNF plays a key role in water management in the Galilee by rehabilitating river banks and springs.
  • KKL-JNF develops sewage treatment facilities and constructed wetlands.
  • KKL-JNF builds reservoirs to impound treated wastewater used for irrigation, saving millions of cubic meters of fresh water for Galilee residents.
  • KKL-JNF develops new sources of water, such as the Shamir Drills in the Galilee.


KKL-JNF meets the water needs of the Galilee!


A community development priority

The Galilee offers unparalleled opportunities for Israelis to live in a wide variety of beautiful, green settings: from full-fledged cities to small hilltop communities. Encouraging community development in the Galilee is an ecological and national imperative in order to ease the pressure on Israel’s overcrowded central coastal strip. Such development must be coordinated and guided in order to respect the natural values that make the region so appealing.

  • KKL-JNF plays an active role in promoting sustainable and balanced development in the Galilee to enhance the quality of life for all the residents of the region.
  • KKL-JNF is working with the government and the OR Movement to expand existing communities and establish new ones in the region, to ensure that future generations will continue to inhabit the Galilee.
  • KKL-JNF develops infrastructure for tourism, agriculture and industry to provide employment opportunities for Galilee residents.
  • KKL-JNF creates community forests and urban parks and carries out landscaping projects.
  • KKL-JNF builds security and agricultural roads as well as infrastructure for housing.
  • KKL-JNF creates bridges between Arab and Jewish communities in the Galilee in the form of walking and bicycle trails, connecting people and communities and promoting peace.

KKL-JNF works for the benefit of the people in the Galilee!


"The Tur'an Forest Scenic Road not only provides security, but also makes the forest and the incredible view accessible to everyone. Before the new road, only people with jeeps could enjoy the natural beauty of the area. It's made a huge difference in our quality of life, and we're very grateful for it." (Molli Levias, Kibbutz Beit Rimon)

A tourism & recreation priority

The natural beauty and human diversity of the Galilee make it an ideal region for the development of tourism-based industries and enterprises. Tourism introduces Israelis to this beautiful region, enhancing their awareness of the need to protect and develop it and presenting them with the option of moving to the area. The Galilee is also a vital component of Israel’s appeal to foreign tourists, with its combination of natural beauty and sites of religious, historical, and cultural importance. KKL-JNF focuses on special tourism niches such as ecotourism and agrotourism, as well.

  • KKL-JNF develops tourism & recreation in the Galilee, providing environmentally friendly, income generating opportunities for the residents of the region.
  • KKL-JNF works to promote ecotourism by constructing scenic roads, bicycle and walking trails in KKL-JNF forests and between Galilee communities and by developing tourist complexes.
  • KKL-JNF develops its forests as centers for leisure, recreation and as venues for fairs and events focusing on nature and heritage.
  • KKL-JNF develops attractions along the Israel National Trail.
  • KKL-JNF has developed and maintains the Galilee's Gospel Trail.
  • KKL-JNF improves accessibility in its forests.
  • The restored Hula Valley is one of KKL-JNF's most impressive projects in the Galilee, attracting hundreds of thousands of birds and flocks of tourists in their wake.

Read more:

The JNF Western Galilee Visitor's Center in Akko

Gate to the North Information Center in Yokneam

KKL-JNF opens the Galilee to people from near and far!

Riding on the Swiss Forest bike trail next to Lake Kinneret. Photo by Ilan Shaham

An educational priority

Since its founding, KKL-JNF has worked to foster the bond between the Jewish people and their land. Educational efforts in the Galilee encourage residents, young and old, to respect and nurture the region’s natural resources. Educational work with visitors from throughout Israel and abroad heightens awareness of the tremendous challenges that must be overcome in order to maintain the lush greenery that typifies much of the region.

  • KKL-JNF works both inside and outside formal education frameworks with people of all ages.
  • KKL-JNF restores heritage sites and historical buildings throughout the Galilee.
  • KKL-JNF landscapes schoolyards and operates Green Open Classrooms throughout the Galilee.
  • KKL-JNF created MAOF – the Hebrew word for vision – KKL-JNF’s innovative eco-Zionist program aimed at new immigrant students and peripheral communities.
  • KKL-JNF organizes International Clean Up Day in the Galilee.
  • KKL-JNF organizes activities and excursions in KKL-JNF forests suited to the needs of different populations.
  • KKL-JNF organizes a myriad of events, festivals and educational projects focusing on nature and the environment in KKL-JNF forests and open spaces.

KKL-JNF is educating the Galilee’s future generations!

A green open classroom inaugurated in the Galilee town of Shfaram. Photo by Tania Susskind

A research priority

KKL-JNF supports research in the many fields related to forestry and the environment as well as applied research at R&D stations throughout the country. In the Galilee, KKL-JNF investigates forest tree species to find the ones best adapted to the climate, the effect of grazing and wildfires on forests and a number of research projects focusing on the Hula Valley rehabilitation.

  • KKL-JNF works closely with academic institutions in Israel, supporting research projects relevant to its work.
  • KKL-JNF supports the Northern R&D Station that operates several experimental farms and develops methods to reduce pesticide use.
  • KKL-JNF supports research focusing on grazing, agricultural water management and vegetable and flower farming.
  • KKL-JNF is active in water management research, looking for new sources of water such as the Shamir Drills project that utilizes a so-far untapped source of fossil water.
  • KKL-JNF research in the Hula Valley focuses on finding the optimal balance between people and wildlife in their environment.


KKL-JNF spreads the word!


"Modern agriculture cannot ignore the environmental issues preoccupying farmers today. Lake Hula is the ideal venue for showing people what we do; the site itself is living proof that it’s possible to find a balance between nature and agriculture, allowing both to exist side by side, in harmony.” (Dr. David Cohen, R&D researcher)

The Hula Valley

The Hula Lake Nature and Bird Park is KKL-JNF’s flagship project in the north of Israel. The lake occupies part of the area once covered by the original Hula Lake, which was drained in the 1950s and re-flooded in the 1990s, restoring the ecosystem that once flourished there and serving as a vital filtering process for Lake Kinneret. The Hula Valley is located along a major migration flyway, over which close to 500 million birds fly every spring and fall, many of them spending winter, spring or summer in the valley, where they are joined by hundreds of thousands of nature lovers from Israel and the world over. Nothing symbolizes the successful rehabilitation of the valley more than the cranes, thousands of which migrate over the valley in autumn, with thousands more staying for the winter.

KKL-JNF has already completed the first stage of development, which included infrastructures, roads, bicycle trails and various educational programs. Existing projects are accessible to people with disabilities and the park will continue to be developed in accordance with the principles of universal design. The second stage of development includes:

  • A state-of-the-art visitor center that will serve the more than 400,000 annual visitors to the park and eventually include educational and research functions as well.
  • Improved accessibility with the addition of new equipment for the benefit of people with audio and visual disabilities.
  • The latest attractions and equipment to make a visit to the Hula Valley an unforgettable experience.
Migrating cranes gather in Hula Lake Park. Photo by Avi Hirschfield, KKL-JNF Photo Archive

"The Feed the Cranes project prevents irreversible damage to the Hula's agriculture. We finally succeeded in finding a sure and safe method to protect the valley's field crops and vegetables from the huge numbers of birds. At present, we're looking for a way to guarantee the program's long-term viability in order to ensure "co-existence" in the valley. (Ofer Barnea, a Hula Valley farmer)

The Galilee: Facts & Figures*

  • Population – 1,304,600
  • Average population density – 292 people per sq. km; (Negev = 79, Tel Aviv = 7,522)
  • Area – 3,319 sq. km
  • Climate – cool rainy winters, pleasant dry summers
  • Precipitation – 500-1,000 mm annual average, about 55 rainy days a year
  • Highest peak – Mt. Meron, altitude 1,208 m

* Israel Central Bureau of Statistics website.

KKL-JNF Northern Region – Facts & Figures

  • Planted forests – 327 sq km
  • Native woodland tended by KKL-JNF – 220 sq km
  • Recreation and picnic areas – 326
  • Scenic lookouts – 172
  • Reservoirs – 112
  • Agricultural & Security roads – 46
  • Scenic routes – 18
  • Infrastructure – 403
  • Research & Development Station – 1
  • Fire trucks – 9
  • Archaeological site development – 22
  • Fire watchtowers – 11

Map of how KKL-JNF and its Friends worldwide are changing the Galilee

 Click for a more detailed map

KKL-JNF's committment to sustainable development

KKL-JNF is committed to sustainable development and environmental responsibility, in the Galilee and throughout Israel. The word in Hebrew for sustainability, kayamut, is part of the organization’s Hebrew name, Keren Kayemeth, suggesting that ethical assumptions concerning responsibility toward future generations have always been part of the KKL-JNF philosophy.

KKL-JNF is committed to:

  • Preserving the environment and its diversity to allow enhanced provision of ecosystem services, such as clean air, water and fertile soils.
  • The people, recognizing their right to be involved in decisions that affect their future.
  • Ensuring that natural resources are used sustainably and for the good of the public at large.
  • Protecting Israel’s national lands in order to keep them in trust for the people of today and future generations.