Naftali Bennett
Naftali BennettFlash 90

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday approved the announcement of seven new nature reserves in Judea and Samaria, along with the expansion of 12 existing reserves.

A directive was given to the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria to advance the move, after years of political inaction.

Following the administrative procedure, the new reserves will soon be opened to the public by the Nature and Parks Authority. The seven newly announced reserves are as follows: Ariel Cave, Nahal Og, Wadi Malcha, South Jordan River, Bitronot, Nahal Tirza, Arvot Hayarden, and Rotem Maskiot.

At the same time, an area of ​​12 existing reserves will be expanded in the following places: Matzok Ha’atakim, Nahal Kana, Sartaba, Petza’el, Um Zuka, Einot Tzukim, Haruba, Salvadora persica (plant species), Gadir Mountain, Kane Vasmar, Wadi Malcha Marsh, and Qumran.

Notice will be given to the Palestinian Authority accordingly.

Defense Minister Bennett said: "Today significantly strengthens the Land of Israel and the continued development of Jewish communities in Area C. By deeds, not by words. In Judea and Samaria, there are many nature sites with stunning views and, among them, we will be expanding existing nature reserves and opening up new ones as well. I invite all citizens of Israel to get up and walk around the country, to come to Judea and Samaria, go on hikes there, and discover for yourselves the beauty of our continuously expanding Zionist enterprise."

Yaron Rosenthal, Director of the Kfar Etzion Field School, praised this new venture: "The Defense Minister's decision to add nature reserves in Area C is a lifeline to the ecological continuum of the Jordan River and the Jordan Valley. This is an area of ​​unique plant species, rare animals, and the last remaining natural habitat of these and other flora and fauna as well."