|The Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel has existed as a registered independent NPO since 1.1.2008. It was founded in 1984 as part of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel at the recommendation of the Knesset education committee, in view of the destruction and damage inflicted on historic heritage sites in Israel from 1700 onwards.
To locate buildings, compounds and authentic remains of historic and settlement processes from the year 1700 onwards, to take action to prevent their destruction, and to protect and conserve them.
To encourage a commitment to conservation of sites, to develop sites that stemmed from cultures that left their imprint on the land of Israel from the beginning of the eighteenth century, and therefore provide evidence of these cultures. To explain their importance to our building heritage, to the history of Israel and its different forms of settlement, both urban and rural.
To initiate plans for the conservation of historic sites and compounds and to encourage organizations, authorities and institutions to initiate activities and preservation and rehabilitation programmes.
To establish conservation principles, based on international standards but adapted to the situation in Israel.
To initiate and promote parliamentary legislation regarding conservation, and also encourage the enforcement of the various laws by government ministries and local authorities.
To raise awareness of the value and importance of conservation among professionals: architects, planners, decision makers and the general public.
To initiate educational and information dissemination activities in the formal and informal education system and among different sectors of society, in order to raise awareness of the cultural need for conservation.
To develop and operate selected sites for visitors and for educational activities.
Structure of the Council and its institutions
The Concil's institutions: general meeting, the council of the organization, and a board of directors that determines preservation policy throughout the country.
A president heads the society, and a general director manages its activities.
Committees for specific topics address different conservation issues, taking into consideration physical, planning, economic, educational and media perspectives. Together, these committees mould the day-to-day work of the Council.
A team of workers and regional directors implement policy through regional action committees.
Members of the organization and conservation supporters from all parts of society – planners, educators, and academics – actively promote the Council's endeavours and work as volunteers to help achieve our goals.
Our areas of activity
The Council has created a supportive and vibrant movement, thanks to the efforts made from the beginning to highlight the need to preserve historic buildings.
Raising awareness of the importance of conservation among the public at large, and among decision makers and professionals in the fields of planning and development by means of conferences, events, study days, tours around the country, public action committees and professional publications.
Prevention of destruction and conservation of historic compounds and buildings
The Council has succeeded in preventing the destruction of buildings and conserving and restoring sites all over the country, according to internationally accepted criteria, approaches and conservation techniques. All this has been achieved, and sometimes fought for, by the Counci'sl workers, assisted by active supporters and backed by volunteers.
Conservation and physical rehabilitation plans
The Council initiates and implements conservation plans via the planning authorities, municipal authorities and private developers, who are aware of the economic and tourism possibilities that lie in conservation and its contribution to the development of the communities. Many conservation plans nowadays are incorporated into local and regional development plans.
The Council is involved in many of these plans and sometimes even helps to obtain funding. It also provides professional advice and a group of skilled workers who carry out the physical conservation of the buildings.
The Council regards educational activities as central in inculcating the understanding that conservation is an inseparable part of every community and that there are many ways of integrating it into future development.
Educational activities focus on formal and informal education and emphasize both conservation values and national history.
Conservation at visitor sites and settlement history museums
Some 150 sites, most of which are housed in preserved historic buildings, display exhibits that tell the story of the place and the period, with the help of guides and educational programmes. The sites are open to the public and to schools and offer visitors an encounter with the history of the land of Israel and with the importance of conservation.
The Council has rehabilitated and operates 10 visitor sites: Beit Yellin in Motza, Ayalon Institute, the Minkov Citrus Museum in Rehovot, the Mikveh Israel School Visitor Centr, the Illegal Immigrants’ Detention (Ma’apilim) Camp in Atlit, the Valley Train in Kfar Yehoshua, the Historic Nahalal Police station, Kinneret Courtyard, the Sarona-HaKirya Visitors Center and HaReut Museum.
Conservation of historic buildings and sites is essential in safeguarding the remains of the past, which reflect the achievements of cultures and technologies of bygone days. The conserved buildings signify building continuity across the generations and respect for the builders, and create a sense of stability and historical continuity, as the late Yigal Allon said: “When a people does not honour its past, it lives in a present of little substance and faces a future clouded in doubt.”
The Council appeals to all those who cherish this country’s past and heritage – join the supporters of the Council, show sensitivity and concern for conserving the values important to this country’s history, and participate in public activities aimed at conserving historic sites, buildings and compounds in Israel.
The Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel – Mikveh Israel Agricultural School, 5891000
Founded by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel