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The Environment in Israel:
Historic Overview

By Shoshana Gabbay





Historic Overview


Landscape Conservation

Water Quality

Air Quality

Marine and Coastal Environment

Solid Waste

Hazardous Substances

Environmental Research

Toward a
Sustainable Future





Ibex         Photo: MFA

In the first 25-year period following its independence, Israel accorded high priority to intensive development programs: new towns were built, modern agricultural programs were introduced, water sources were tapped and roads and airports were constructed. The rapid growth rate of population, industry and agriculture led to environmental degradation, which was further aggravated by the concentration of industrial and urban activities along the coastal strip, where two-thirds of the population reside.


Within a year of the Stockholm Conference, the Cabinet established the Environmental Protection Service (EPS) as Israel's first environmental government body. The birth of the EPS in 1973 was an important first step in the creation of a comprehensive and modern environmental administration in Israel. In December 1988, the government established the Ministry of the Environment. The decision reflected a positive change in the national determination to tackle environmental issues. In recent years, Israel has embarked on a new journey, taking its first steps on the path toward sustainable development — development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.