LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR NATURE PROTECTION

The National Parks and Nature Reserves Law of 1963 first provided the legal structure for the protection of natural habitats, wildlife and sites of historic and architectural interest in Israel. Under the law, two authorities were created: the Nature Reserves Authority, responsible to the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Parks Authority, responsible to the Ministry of the Environment. Sites designated for protection are declared by the Minister of the Interior, following consultation with the relevant ministers (Environment, Agriculture or Defense).

In 1992, an entirely updated version of the law was enacted the National Parks, Nature Reserves, National Sites and Memorial Sites Law. The new version broadens the authority of the Ministry of the Environment within the National Parks and Nature Reserves Council which decides on policy issues. It provides for the protection of areas that are designated as national parks and nature reserves in the national masterplans but which have not yet been declared and developed as such, and prohibits damage, trade and commerce in protected assets.

The Wild Animals Protection Law of 1955 authorizes the Minister of Agriculture to restrict the hunting of wild animals, to issue hunting permits, and to appoint inspectors to enforce the law.

The Forests Ordinance of 1926 authorizes the Minister of Agriculture to declare forest reserves and closed forest areas and to declare certain trees protected.

The Antiquities Law of 1978 empowers the Minister of Education to protect historic and archeological monuments and sites predating the year 1700. Archeological sites are the concern of the NPA when they are developed for visitors. Otherwise, they fall under the control of the Antiquities Department of the Ministry of Education.

The Streams and Springs Authority Law of 1965 allows for the establishment of stream authorities, which, amongst other things, are responsible for the preservation of the landscape and nature along streams and the preparation of these areas for gardens, recreation and sports, as long as they are not included in an area protected under the National Parks, Nature Reserves, National Sites and Memorial Sites Law.