Professor Shimon Sheetrit has emerged as a candidate to challenge Effie Stenzler as head of the the Keren Kayemet Leyisrael (KKL-Jewish National Fund-JNF), after producing a coalition agreement that includes most of the factions in the World Zionist Federation. The coalition is expected to return the JNF to regular activity after years in which its institutions have been paralyzed. Founded in 1901 to buy land for Jewish settlement, Keren Kayemet owns about 13 percent of the land in Israel and has developed forests, parks, dams and reservoirs, among other land uses.
The former minister said the fund must adapt itself to the times and implement policy that protects the environment. Sheetrit, who has undertaken reform in all his ministries, said reform was needed in the Keren Kayemet as well, calling for the organization's involvement in alternative energy and environmentally-friendly tourism that can turn Israel's forests into productive assets. He also said the fund should collect, document and export its knowledge around the world.