Protected Trees and Shrubs, JNF
This is a poster published by Keren Kayemet LeYisrael (KKL), also known as the Jewish National Fund (JNF). It displays 33 types of trees and shrubbery that are under JNF protection. Examples of trees include olive, acacia, eucalyptus, sage, laurel, pine, oak, fig, and palm. The poster has a black background, and each of the pictures of the trees and shrubs are set diagonally, with the Israeli pine tree as the main picture at the centre of the poster. Nature conservation is an important issue in Israel and laws protecting the flora and fauna of Israel have made a huge impact on nature, preventing the extinction of many species. Besides the laws and fines for harming wildlife, nature preservation organisations, such as the JNF, launched successful public campaigns informing the public about the protected species, as illustrated by this poster.
The JNF (KKL) was established in 1901 at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel. The aim of the organisation was to buy land in pre-State Israel for Jewish settlement. The JNF was also involved with many other development projects such as planting forests, reclaiming land, draining swamps, and building dams and reservoirs. The 240 million trees that the JNF have planted in Israel up to the current day contribute to Israel’s environment but also allow Jews from all over the world to participate in developing Israel’s nature with funds collected in the JNF Blue Box collection boxes that was found in homes and institutions around the world.
Tu B’Shvat, the 15th day of the month of Shvat, is first mentioned in the Mishnah as one of the Jewish New Years, the date that marked the beginning of the tax year for fruits and trees. At the time of the Temple, this meant taking a portion of one’s crops and giving it to the Levites. This special day evolved into the New Year for trees, fruit, and nature that we know today. The tradition of planting trees slowly developed, not as a halachic ritual, but as a Zionist, nationalistic one. In 1884 the pioneers of the village of Yesud Hama’alah planted 1,500 fruit trees on Tu B’Shvat, and in 1890 Rabbi Ze’ev Yaavitz planted seeds with his students in Zichron Yaakov. By doing this, Yaavitz and the Yesud Hama’alah farmers gave a Zionist interpretation to this mishnaic date by planting trees to make the Land of Israel flourish. In 1908, the teachers union in Jerusalem adopted this new tradition and made Tu B’Shvat the “Festival of Planting” that was later adopted by the JNF-KKL and has since been celebrated by planting trees and promoting environmental concerns. Another traditional way of celebrating Tu B’Shvat is conducting a Tu B’Shvat Seder, a ritual first conducted in Tzfat (Safed) in the seventeenth century. This includes eating fruit of the Land of Israel and reading special passages that relate to fruit and the Land of Israel.
This poster can be used to explain the role of the KKL (JNF) in the development of Israel in Jewish History and Israel Studies lessons. Teachers can also discuss the contribution of the Jews from the Diaspora in the development of the country via the JNF.
This poster can also be used in Science and Biology lessons when teaching about the various types of trees and plants in Israel and around the world. This poster, which is part of a nature conservation campaign, can also be used when discussing the challenges facing nature today and ways to conserve flora and fauna.
What text appears on the poster?
What photographs are included in the design?
Make a list of the trees and plants that appear on the poster.
Translate the names into your language using a dictionary or Google Translate.
Who printed this poster?
Reading Between the Lines
What message does this poster convey?
What campaign was this poster part of?
Why did organisations launch campaigns for nature conservation?
Why is this important?
What is the connection between this poster and Tu B’Shvat?
The JNF planted millions of trees in Israel since it was founded in 1901.
What is the importance of planting trees?
Do you recognise any of the trees on the poster?
Where have you seen them before, and what do you know about them?
Have you heard of JNF?
Is JNF active in your community? Are you involved in their activities?
If so, describe some of their activities.
If not, research their activities online and write a few sentences about them and what they do.
Compare the JNF campaigns of tree and nature conservationwith similar activities in your country.
Design your own poster campaign about protecting trees in Israel.
Make a catchy slogan and create a poster on Canva.com.
Choose one tree from the poster and create a profile about it on “Adopt a Tree” found at Project Learning Tree