אתר הקואליציה למאבק בתוכנית השר אטיאס לבניית עיר של 150,000 תושבים, לחרדים בלבד, על היישוב חריש באזור ואדי ערה

The Harish Forest

The Harish Forest extends and is integrated in the entire Umm-El-Fahem – Katzir-Harish area and is a single natural and unique landscape unit of mountainous landscape with steep slopes and deep wadis. Unique geological formations are exposed in the area, which contributes to the preservation of mountainous aquifer, one can even find some beautiful natural springs there. Luscious Mediterranean woods cover vast areas and some of the area is covered with JNF forest.

The Harish Forest is a typical Israeli forest, like the forests that were cut down by the Ottoman rulers in order to heat their steam engines during the First World War. It can be that this forest survived because it is interwoven with agricultural groves of olive trees, grape vines and orchards. In the Harish Forest one can find the full variety of Israeli forest flora – Tavor oaks, Carobs, Atlantic terebinth, Israeli terebinth, Buckthorn, Hawthorn, Livne and more. This is in addition to the seasonal blossoming of a variety of Israel wild flowers – carpets of anemones and cyclamens and an abundant variety of seasonal flowers. Some of the trees are valued as unique due to their age and their size – some of them are over 10 meters tall. Furthermore, there is an abundance of archaeological sites, such as agricultural farms, ancient villages, and burial and worship structures, with finds from many historical periods.

Of course, under the foliage a plenitude of animals find refuge – such as porcupines, foxes, wild boars, deer and various rodents, in addition to a wide variety of reptiles and insects. This is a unique natural landscape unit embedded harmoniously with all the forms of rural settlements that exist in Israel – such as kibbutzim, communal settlements and Arab villages.

The landscape that is revealed to the trekker in the forest is a typical Israeli landscape – a combination of nature and man that is disappearing in the process of urbanization that Israel is undergoing. In the forest there is a wealth of walking trails and beauty spots such as “Tel Zeevim” and Narbata creek’s canyon. We must maintain this landscape for the benefit of future generations. We must remember – a large city will be at the expense of the forest.
חתול ביצות - צילום: אייל ברטוב

The Nature Preservation Society states: “There is no need to expand the new city to such a large scale, the requirements can be met at a much smaller scale, as approved in the past. The area in question includes many natural and scenic resources and it is important to preserve them in their natural habitat. The environmental price due to massive urban development in such valuable land will be very heavy.”

The Environment Ministry warns: “Expanding the city to the dimensions that are proposed by the Borders Committee will annihilate entire areas of very high sensitivity in terms of nature and landscape values".

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