The father of afforestation in Israel, Yosef Weitz, jabbed the ground of Yatir with his walking stick and declared: "A forest will grow here!" contradicting the experts who argued that it was impossible for trees to grow on such arid soil.
Plantings in the Yatir area begun in 1964 by Keren Kayemeth Le Israel - Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF). Today, more than 4 million trees, including a wide variety of species (Jerusalem pine, Atlanta terebrinths, cedars, oaks, Judas trees, cypresses and others) grow here. Fruit trees such as almonds, pistachios, olives, walnuts, peach and grapevines have been planted in the Yatir Forest as well.
KKL-JNF has built in the Yatir forest dirt roads in order for all sorts of vehicles to approach the numerous recreation areas located in the forest. In addition, hiking trails leading to the archaeological sites which are situated within the forest have been prepared. As a part of KKL-JNF`s fire fighting system, an early warning fire observation tower has been built in the Foresters` Fortress at the Yatir forest.
Since the time when the Yatir Forest has been planted, several settlements have been established in the vicinity. The settlements include Moshav Bet Yatir (known as Metzudot Yehuda), Kibbutz Har Amasa and the community settlement of Shani (known as Livne).
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