15 years ago, residents of the Timna Valley near Eilat discovered that a monstrous new luxury hotel was about to be built in the Sasgon Valley — one of the most beautiful places in the region. The hotel, which would have been one of the largest in the region, was due to include canals like in Venice, and an electric fence to keep out wild animals.
But recently, Israel’s Southern District Planning and Building Committee reversed its decision to build the hotel following a concerted campaign by the Committee to Save Sasgon Valley, a grantee of the NIF-backed Sheli (Green Environment) Fund. Instead, a nature reserve will be established near Timna Park and land will be allocated for a smaller, more compact hotel so as to minimize damage to the natural landscape.
Although the plan had been approved and the new hotel seemed inevitable, The Committee to Save Sasgon Valley was not deterred. Environmentalists and professionals, including the Sheli (Green Environment) Fund, were recruited and the campaign’s organizer worked tirelessly until the very end. The Committee told planners, “We are not against tourism. We are against harming nature. Nature is also tourism while hotels for the very rich are not.”
The Committee to Save Sasgon Valley said, “We believe that what wins campaigns, what changes reality for the better, is good people, like those who won the Sasgon Valley campaign in the Arava, after 14 years of struggle, against all odds.”