Israel Land Administration
The Israel Land Administration (ILA; ; ) is part of the government of Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and is responsible for managing the 93% of the land in Israel which is in the public domain
Public domain
Works are in the public domain if the intellectual property rights have expired, if the intellectual property rights are forfeited, or if they are not covered by intellectual property rights at all...

. These lands are either property of the state, belong to the Jewish National Fund
Jewish National Fund
The Jewish National Fund was founded in 1901 to buy and develop land in Ottoman Palestine for Jewish settlement. The JNF is a quasi-governmental, non-profit organisation...

 (JNF) which controls 13% of the land, or belong to the Israel Development Authority. This land comprises 4820500 acres (19,507.9 km²). "Ownership" of real estate in Israel usually means leasing rights from the ILA for a period of 49 or 98 years.

Legal framework

Four Israeli laws form the legal basis of its land policy:
  • Basic Law establishing the Israel Land Administration (1960)
  • Israel Lands Law (1960)
  • Israel Land Administration (1960)
  • Covenant between the State of Israel and the World Zionist Organization (establishing the Jewish National Fund) (1960)


The Israel Land Council sets policy for the ILA. It is chaired by Israel's Vice Prime Minister, the Minister of Industry, Trade, Labor and Communications. The Council has 22 members; 12 represent government ministries and 10 represent the Jewish National Fund. The Director General of the ILA is appointed by the government.

Exclusion of foreign nationals

Under Israeli law, the Israel Land Administration cannot lease land to foreign nationals, which includes Palestinian residents of Jerusalem who have identity cards but are not citizens of Israel. In practice foreigners may be allowed to lease if they show that they qualify as Jewish under the Law of Return.

Exclusion of Arab citizens

The city of Rahat
Rahat is a predominantly Bedouin city in the South District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , at the end of 2009 the city had a total population of 51,700...

 is the one new Arab city that has been established since Israel was created in 1948. In January 2010, a bill proposed by Ahmed Tibi, an Arab Member of the Knesset, that called for land to be allocated equally to Jews and Arabs was rejected by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. The bill was designed to provide counterbalance to a bill passed two weeks earlier that states that reception committees of Israeli communities can exercise discretion as to who may reside in their towns. According to Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

, "One consequence of that [the latter] bill is that Israeli Arabs
Arab citizens of Israel
Arab citizens of Israel refers to citizens of Israel who are not Jewish, and whose cultural and linguistic heritage or ethnic identity is Arab....

 would not be able to live in those towns if the reception committees decide so."

Court rulings

The Israel Land Administration manages both the land directly owned by the Government and the Jewish National Fund
Jewish National Fund
The Jewish National Fund was founded in 1901 to buy and develop land in Ottoman Palestine for Jewish settlement. The JNF is a quasi-governmental, non-profit organisation...

 (JNF) land. The JNF's charter prohibits it from leasing land to non-Jews. In addition, the Jewish Agency, an organization that promotes Jewish immigration to the country and develops residential areas on both public and JNF land, as a matter of policy does not lease land to non-Jews. In 2000, the High Court ruled that the State may not allocate land to its citizens on the basis of religion or nationality, even if it allocates the land through a third party such as the Jewish Agency. The Court's decision precludes any restrictions on the leasing or sale of land based on nationality, religion, or any other discriminatory category. With respect to this ruling, official JNF policy has not changed; no other cases arose after the initial 2000 ruling during the period covered by this report.

In October 2004, civil rights groups petitioned the High Court of Justice to block a Government bid announcement involving JNF land that effectively banned Arabs from bidding. The Government then halted marketing of JNF land in the Galilee and other areas of the north, where there are large Arab populations. In December 2004, Adalah petitioned the High Court to require the Government to apply nondiscriminatory procedures for allocating land and to conduct open land sales/leases to Arabs as well as to Jews. In January 2005, the Attorney General ruled that the Government cannot discriminate against Israeli Arabs in the marketing and allocation of lands it manages, including lands that the Israel Land Administration manages for the Jewish National Fund. Adalah criticized the Attorney General, however, for also deciding that the Government should compensate the JNF with land equal in size to any plots of JNF land won by non-Jewish citizens in government tenders.
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