environment groups in Israel will no longer have a free access to the government's environment ministry. Nehama Ronen, the new director-general of the ministry, maintains that environmental organisations should represent environmental interests and nothing else and that being party to the formulation of policy compromises the greens.
The government position has sparked off a wave of protests among the green groups. "We have got access to information and professional abilities that the ministry doesn't have, so a dialogue is a positive thing," contends Samuel Chayen, spokesperson for the Israel Union for Environmental Defense.
Meanwhile, the government has reversed two decisions of the previous administration on two contentious issues. It has allowed that construction of 300 houses can take place on the site of the Hula wetlands reclamation project in Upper Galilee. It has agreed for the expansion of the country's international airport, which is located in a populous area, west of Tel Aviv.