The Planning and Building Law of 1965, is a comprehensive statute with enabling regulations that monitors and regulates all building and land use designation in Israel. The law vests development rights in the State; public or private landowners or developers cannot develop without the State’s permission. No building and land-use activity can be initiated without a permit, and no permit can be issued unless it fully complies with the various statutorily-approved master and detailed plans applying to the specific area and project.

The law also serves as a foundation for environmental protection in Israel. It establishes a hierarchy of government planning bodies (on the national, regional and local levels) responsible for the planning of the environment and for all land use, both public and private. These planning authorities control development, taking into consideration all potential impacts, including environmental.

The Planning and Building Law provides for a public notification and participation process. The public is informed of schemes presented to the regional and local planning authorities through public notices published in the legal gazette, in offices of the local authority and in daily newspapers. Public bodies or individuals are free to inspect such schemes and to file opposition during the deposition period of any given plan. The law also provides for an appeal process in case an objection is rejected.

Planning and Building Regulations (Environmental Impact Statements) were promulgated in 1982. Under these regulations, an EIS is defined as "a document reviewing the connection between a proposed plan and the environment in which it is to be implemented, including estimates of the expected or foreseen effects of the plan on this environment, and an itemized list of the measures needed to prevent detrimental effects." The regulations have been fully integrated into the planning system, ensuring that at all stages and at all levels of the planning process, major development plans (as defined in the regulations) undergo environmental assessment.