Get to know the national parks and nature reserves that you shouldn't miss in Israel.
Israel is small but has a hugely varied scenery. Spread out in the South are the arid expanse of the Negev and the Arava, the blazing Dead Sea valley and the mountains of Eilat as they turn red at sunset.
To the North, the black basalt rocks adorn the Golan Heights against the snow-capped Mount Hermon and above the green slopes of the Galilee. In the East, the sun breaks over the rocky slopes of the Judean Hills, and to the West lies the peaceful blue of the Mediterranean Sea. Scattered among all of this are geographically varied gems of nature including deserts, mountain cliffs, coastal areas, forests and reservoirs, as well as historical and archeological sites.
Tourists and natives alike enjoy spending time close to nature, but like the rest of the western world, Israel’s valuable natural environment is threatened by industrial development and urban sprawl.
The Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority was created to protect and prevent the extinction of the country’s plants and wildlife; to allow the continuity of various natural habitats; and to promote Israel’s history, archeology and heritage. By preserving and cultivating these sites, the Authority enables the tens of thousands of visitors to enjoy the delightful treasures offered there. The Authority provides a service both to nature and to people by safeguarding the cultural, educational, scientific and economic resources for future generations.
The sites undergo a complex administrative and investigative process prior to acceptance by the Authority, which currently operates 115 national parks and 380 nature reserves. Access to most sites is restricted, requiring an admission fee.
Thanks to the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority, visitors in Israel can see eagles nesting on the Golan cliffs; ibex and leopards in the Judean Desert; the large Bell Caves of Beit Govrin; irises in the Poleg reserve; the rare coral peony atop Mount Meron. They can enjoy the impressive diversity of natural wonders, and an encounter with unspoiled nature and with plants and wildlife which are almost extinct and for whom Israel’s nature reserves are their last sanctuary.
The national parks offer an exciting cultural adventure and an opportunity to visit magnificent historical sites, including Massada (Metsada), Caesarea (Keysarya), Beit She’an, and others that a glimpse of a wide range of ancient civilizations. These sites enable visitors to understand how people lived hundreds and thousands of years ago, while getting a close view of the places where events related in the Scriptures and history books occurred.
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