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Architecture and Urban Planning - A Memoir \ David Best
III 1970 - 1980
Ramat Magshimim
One of my great pleasure of planning in the north of Israel was the journey from the flat highly built up area of the coastal plain were I lived and had my office, to the Galilee. It is a hilly landscape of forests counterpointed by wide flat green valleys of rich agricultural land.  After leaving my office I would have an hour's boring drive along the coast road with only an occasional glimpse of the sea until I reached Hadera, where I would turn off the highway into the Valley of Ara, dotted with Arab villages on either side along its length.   Alternatively, I could drive further north along the same coast road to the picturesque town of Zichron Yaacov, high up on the Carmel range.  From there I could drive carefully up the winding road through Valley Milik, narrow and steep on both sides and passing through the town of Yokneam, speed along the straight road to Afula and beyond to the Upper Galilee.  To get to the Golan, I must first descend to Lake Kinneret, (the Sea of Galilee) - 200 meters below sea level. Passing through the lakeside town of Tiberias, I would have to half circumnaiate around the lake before striking up north from Kibbutz Ein Gev, along the winding road that would take me high up onto the Golan.    This is the route I used to take and still do today, in order to reach the many projects I have planned and are still planning in this beautiful part of the country.  I have recounted my first project of Kibbutz Gonen in the Upper Galilee and there were additional minor works in Upper Nazareth, Afula, Tiberias, Migdal Ha'emek and Yokneam. However it was only after the Six-Day War that such large projects would get me out of bed early and onto the Haifa road before the heavy traffic would start. I would cut east into either of the two valleys, and find myself among the lovely green hills of northern Israel.  Every season has its changes of colour, but in the Galilee it is always subtle variants of green, from the sage green in the summer to the dark wet green of the winter months, then a viridian, speckled with the budding flowers of spring time.  What a contrast this was to the dusty yellow desert landscape of the south.  Often, I would have to drive to the north and south within the same week, but that was a good few years ago.

    In 1970 Shlomo Avni, the dynamic director of the Department of Village Building in the Ministry of Housing, asked me to prepare detailed plans for three new settlements on the Golan Heights.  Simultaneously, Raanan Wietz, the Director of the Rural Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency, asked me to participate in the preparation of a Regional Plan for an area in the south east of the Golan which would contain among others, these three new settlements.as well as the reginal centre of Hispin, Once again, I would have an overall involvement in the different levels of planning, but there was a catch and as I have said so many times before, there always is a catch!     These two planning Departments, one in the Ministry of Housing and the second in the Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency were rivals, and Shlomo Avni and Raanan Wietz were respectively, the two battling generals of their respective troops. Both the future settlers and I were torn between these two powerful bureaucracies and what was even more exhausting, between these two overbearing and powerful men. I already knew both of them personally.
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