Israeli environmentalists Wednesday began removing hundreds of trees left behind in empty Jewish settlements with the goal of eventually returning them to their owners. Orly Doron, a spokeswoman for the Jewish National Fund, explained, “The future of these trees would have been cutting them. Instead of killing them, we are saving them.”
JNF experts identified about 1,000 trees that could survive transplant. The JNF, founded in 1901 to buy parcels of land in then Ottoman-ruled Palestine, describes itself as “the caretaker of the land of Israel, on behalf of its owners – Jewish people everywhere.” It has planted millions of trees throughout the country.