Is Israel ready for participatory planning? Expectations and obstacles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This is a study of recent experiences in Israel to integrate public participation into the Israeli planning system. It aims to analyse and evaluate the adoption of participatory structures and processes within Israel's strategic master planning systems. Existing planning laws and traditions, socio-political forces, attitudes of planning leadership and affected populations, geographical settings and other spatial factors are examined for their impact upon the participatory process. In three cases selected for study, a variety of techniques were used to secure the desired information and to test the effectiveness of the structures for involving the public. Two of the cases involve public participation as an input into the planning process. The third is an initial effort at a collaborative form of stakeholder involvement. The findings document the failure of the planning system and its bureaucracy to integrate these processes effectively. An overriding question throughout the analysis is what in the Israeli political and socio-cultural context enhances or inhibits effective participation?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-514
Number of pages30
JournalPlanning Theory and Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Established in 1995 with a mandate to remove pollutants and restore landscapes and ecosystems, the Alexander River Restoration Authority was charged with developing a comprehensive Master Plan that would define restoration policy for the river as it flows through Emek Hefer. The Authority, which served as an expanded Steering Committee, consisted of 41 members, including 20 active representatives from national governmental agencies, local communities, NGOs and residents. This does not include the West Bank Palestinian representatives who were involved in the pollution mitigation planning. The initiating agencies, the Ministry of Environment (MOE), the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and the Emek Hefer Regional Council, as well as the National Tourism Corporation and the Sharon Drainage Authority, led the process and provided the financial support. Among the other members were representatives of such national stakeholders as the Israel Land Authority, the National Park Service, the Water Authority, and SPNI. The Steering Committee held 12 meetings with representatives of the 20 settlements that adjoin the waterway and would be most affected by the plan. During the process, the Steering Committee solicited input from an additional 125 stakeholders, and in November 1997, convened a forum of 230 people from 31 settlements to which it presented the plan.


  • Collaboration
  • Emek Hefer
  • Israeli planning
  • Misgav
  • Participatory planning theory and practice
  • Stakeholder involvement
  • Upper Galilee

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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