The United States and Israel have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support future cooperation and exchanges on biodiversity conservation, protected areas and the protection of cultural and historical heritage, announced the U.S. Department of the Interior on Wednesday.

Signed by U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and director of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) Shaul Goldstein, the MOU creates a framework for both agencies to work together on mutual challenges, such as countering wildlife trafficking, protecting ecosystems, and managing parks and cultural sites.

“President [Donald] Trump values the partnership the United States has with Israel and our collective efforts to strengthen conservation initiatives internationally,” said Bernhardt, who also lauded Goldstein’s leadership in expanding Israel’s system of parks and nature reserves.

“The Israel Nature and Parks Authority is in charge of over 25 percent of Israel’s land, and we have the important and sacred task to protect and conserve not only thousands of species of wild animals and plants, but also many of the most precious and valuable heritage and nature sites in the Holy Land,” said Goldstein. “There is obviously quite a difference between our two countries in size, but both the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority share the same vision of conservation and protection of our nature, heritage and landscapes for future generations.”

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said America looks forward “to exploring opportunities for cooperation and exchange with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority in our efforts to promote sustainable management of biodiversity, wildlife, forests and marine life; prevent wildlife trafficking; manage forest fires; and educate communities on environmental protection.”

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