Changes in Israel's Countryside and Agriculture: The Opinions of Residents of Central Israel's Countryside: Manager's Brief
Publication Year: 2009
Eran Feitelson, Larisa Fleishman, Menachem Zlutski
Israel’s countryside and agricultural land has undergone many changes in the past twenty years. The countryside in central Israel has been exposed to extremely heavy land development pressures. These pressures have had far-reaching consequences which are expressed in changes in employment patterns and the reallocation of agricultural land for nonagricultural enterprises. In response to these trends, changes have occurred in the national and district planning authorities aimed at the reinforcement and preservation of agricultural land and open spaces with an emphasis on environmental issues, the countryside’s landscape and tourism. The main purpose of this project is to identify and characterize appropriate patterns for developing the countryside as seen by the residents of central Israel’s countryside. Additionally, this study aims to identify the conditions and incentives which the residents think will allow those who pursue agriculture to continue in their pursuits.
There is a dramatic decline in the centrality of agriculture as a primary source of income for the population living in Israel’s countryside. A majority of the residents in the region’s moshavim, kibbutzim and community settlements support the development of non-agricultural businesses in their towns as either a supplement to or a substitute for agricultural businesses; a greater percentage of residents in moshavim reported that they do not reject the possibility of working in agriculture in the future.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Despite the decline in the place of agriculture as a primary source of employment and income in central Israel’s countryside, the study’s findings give rise to reserved optimism as to the future of agriculture in the region and the prospect of reviving it. Nevertheless, if the place of agriculture in central Israel is to be restored, there is a crucial need for the educated young generations to take an interest in agriculture as a viable source of income.
It is important to support environmentally friendly agricultural practices which are expected to minimize the tensions between the agricultural and residential uses of the countryside. The study showed that certain agricultural activities (which involve nuisances such as noises, smells, etc.) mostly disturb those who are not farmers.
To conclude, it is clear that the dynamic changes, taking place in Israel’s countryside as well as in other developed countries as a part of a process of adjustment to modern economic conditions, will continue in the future. Nevertheless, the study’s findings indicate that through the use of economic, planning, and regulative tools, it is possible to rearrange and redefine the countryside efficiently in order to serve the needs of all the groups influencing the countryside’s character and landscape (for example, by zoning the region (functional division)).