The Society for the Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites was established in 1984 by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, based on a decision of the Knesset Education Committee. The organization was founded for the purpose of preserving and commemorating historical sites related to Israel’s pathway to independence, sites not covered by Israel’s Antiquities Law.
In the mad rush for growth and development, historic buildings and sites were torn down to make room for new roads, bridges, cities, etc. The public response to the destruction of historic buildings began in the 1960s with the destruction of the Herzliya Gymnasium (the country’s first Hebrew high school) in Tel Aviv and its replacement with the Shalom Meir Tower, Tel Aviv’s first skyscraper. While public backlash continued to rise following the destruction of this iconic Tel Aviv landmark, the protests did not truly gain influence until the establishment of the Council in 1984.
The Council chose the façade of the Herzliya Gymnasium as its symbol. It operated under the auspices of the Society for the Protection of Nature until 2008. On January 1, 2008, the council became an independent NGO and was given the name The Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel
Objectives of the Council are to:
- Prevent demolition and promote physical conservation of buildings and heritage sites
- Identify buildings, compounds and authentic remains of historic sites from the year 1700 onwards*, to protect and conserve them.
- Build a national commitment to the conservation of historic heritage sites
- Develop sites that stemmed from cultures that left their imprint on the land of Israel and thereby provide evidence of these cultures
- Encourage organizations, authorities and institutions to initiate preservation and rehabilitation programs.
- Raise awareness for the cultural need for conservation with educational and information dissemination programs in both the formal and informal education systems and among various sectors of the Israeli society