Campaign Updates: April 2016


Day and night, SPNI works to galvanize the public and influence decision-makers to make environmentally-sound policy decisions all over Israel, often in the form of very public campaigns. Here are the latest updates from our campaigns to protect Israel's beaches, strengthen Jerusalem and promote a sustainable fishing industry



Government decides to Weaken the City of Jerusalem

The National Planning and Building Commission recently approved a plan to build eight new neighborhoods in the picturesque hillside west of Jerusalem, including Mitzpe Naftoach. The sites slated for construction include areas of unique importance ecologically, archeologically and recreationally.

SPNI together with local residents, the KKL-JNF, and Jerusalem’s Municipality are currently preparing official objections, attending legal hearings and organizing a public demonstration before the deadline for objections on April 24th.

Our objections include the fact that 230,000 new housing units can easily be built within Jerusalem; the previously mentioned importance of these locations; and that so many different organizations – including the Jerusalem Municipality – are opposed to these plans, while only a few bureaucrats and developers favor them. In place of the government’s building plans we are proposing the establishment of a new nature park to preserve the space for the public.

If you would like to support the campaign we invite you to sign the petition, make a donation and when you visit Israel next, go and hike these areas while you can.  

Government Puts Israel's Beaches up for Sale

SPNI's ongoing fight to protect Israel's beaches for the public was dealt a heavy blow on April 5th. Now, as never before, Israel's beaches face potential destruction in the name of progress and development.

The National Planning and Building Commission approved a plan (Master Plan 1) that effectively revokes the protected status of over 3,500 acres of Israel's shoreline, opening up miles of beach for commercial construction. This decision may have catastrophic consequences for one of Israel's most treasured public assets and cause major damage to marine wildlife.

SPNI fears Master Plan 1 primarily serves real estate developers and the very wealthy, leaving behind an under-served populace that may soon see their access to the beaches they love cut off entirely by private interests.

The fight is far from over. SPNI together with other environmental organizations are working to assess the true environmental and societal cost of the Master Plan and help mobilize local communities and other stakeholders that will be affected by the plan's projected developments. 

Fish Breeding Like Rabbits

On a more positive note, as a result of SPNI's "Fish Responsibly" campaign,  Israel’s first ever fishing season moratorium is under way. Since the beginning of April all fishing in waters fewer than 40 meters in depth has been banned. More importantly this ban, despite a couple of exceptions, has been respected. SPNI’s Sea Watch smartphone application has been an important tool in monitoring compliance. From June-July the fishing season moratorium will expand to all Israel’s economic waters and within a few years we expect that Israel’s fish stocks will be well on their way to recovery.