Israel’s largest environmental organization, Keren Kayemet LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), received a significant donation this week from businessman, philanthropist and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich to combat the effects of climate change in the Middle East, including afforestation, forest rehabilitation and fighting desertification in the Negev in southern Israel.

Abramovich made aliyah last year with his family.

With the donation, a new forest will be established in southern Israel to help combat the area’s rising desertification and aid in increasing nature tourism in the area. It will be established in the memory of Lithuania’s Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

Currently, a significant portion of the designated area is made up of damaged forested land that endured wildfires several years ago, and will now undergo rehabilitation and replanting.

“This generous support from Mr. Abramovich will help continue to carry out the critical work of fighting desertification and making the Israeli desert bloom,” said KKL-JNF World chairman Daniel Atar.

As the organization responsible for establishing and maintaining Israel’s forests, KKL-JNF has planted more than 240 million trees across the country. Following decades of vast experience in afforestation in dry or arid land, Israel and its agencies are considered a global leader in combating desertification through forestation.

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