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Israel Plans New Birdwatching Network

Israel, crossroads of the world's major religions, is also the migration route half a billion birds. Now Jerusalem has plans for them.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 4/2/2012, 1:14 AM

Hikers near Ein Gedi
Hikers near Ein Gedi
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israel, crossroads of the world's major religions, is also the migration route of some half a billion birds -- and now Jerusalem has plans for them.

Israel's government on Sunday approved the planning and construction of a national network of birdwatching centers.

The NIS 37 million project is aimed at promoting tourism, education, environmental awareness and research, and will be developed in the Negev and Galilee.

Four new centers are to be built, located in Sde Boker, Ein Gedi, Lotan and HaTzeva. In addition, three existing centers in Kfar Rupin, Ma'agan Michael and Eilat will be upgraded as well.

The Jewish State's location at the apex of three continents constitutes a main migration route for 500 million birds that fly each autumn from Europe and western Asia to Africa – and then back again each spring.

Although diminutive in size, Israel nevertheless attracts approximately 540 species of the winged creatures each year.

This combination of quantity and variety of birds, along with the excellent tourist infrastructure and pleasant weather found in the Jewish State, has made Israel a “paradise for birdwatching,” commented the Prime Minister's Office.