The plan to expand the Knesset building was not approved: The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee today (Wednesday) discussed objections to the plan, and after hearing the opponents and the answers to the plan’s initiative – the Knesset administration, decided that changes should be made. “The committee has decided that the submitters of the plan must conduct another examination according to which additional trees will be preserved as part of the proposed planning,” the district committee announced tonight.
As previously reported in “Calcalist”, the Knesset expansion plan submitted to the public objections in September 2019 submitted a number of objections, most of which dealt with the consequences of cutting down 716 existing mature trees under the plan. The version of the plan submitted, which aims to address the development of the Knesset over the next 20 years, includes the construction of up to two floors in an area of 28,000 square meters above ground with offices, halls, committee complex, general services for Mishkan and delegations and an energy center. Visitors and a separate entrance for Mishkan workers.
In the objections filed it was argued that instead of protecting the trees, the plan in its deposited version includes the felling of 716 trees, and should therefore be rejected. For example, the opposition of the “Sane Construction” association stated that due to the fact that trees reduce the incidence of a variety of diseases, deforestation will cause its severe environmental damage and severe consequences for public health. This is in addition to the fact that deforestation is intensifying the climate crisis and global warming. In another objection filed by the “Tree Preservers in Jerusalem” group, it was claimed that the Knesset itself, which initiated the program, recognized the need to prepare for the climate crisis and preserve mature trees, at a meeting of the Knesset’s Interior and Environment Committee in August 2020 dedicated to the climate crisis.
In an objection filed by Dr. Yehuda Goodman, a member of the “Keeping Trees in Jerusalem” group, Goodman noted that the solution given by allocating 70% of the Knesset roof area for gardening is ineffective, since large trees cannot be planted on roofs. ” Which require enormous irrigation and their ecological benefit is extremely low. “Goodman wrote.