Since its establishment in 1948, the State of Israel has been oriented towards economic development and industrialization, with a transportation sector increasingly focused on private cars. In 1961, initial awareness of environmental risks led to the adoption of the Abatement of Nuisances Law, which served as the platform for air pollution policy for several decades, even as population growth and growth of the industrial sector, including fossil fuel power plants, led to a continuous increase in air pollution. In the early 2000s, the environmental movement in Israel criticized local air pollution policy as being out of date and started to promote a new Clean Air Law. The law, which was adopted in 2008 and came into force in 2011, was a watershed in air pollution policy in Israel. It includes ambient air quality values for 28 contaminants, emission permits for the industrial sector based on best available techniques (BAT), an enforcement system, and a unified and transparent monitoring system. This paper reviews the history of air pollution policy in Israel from 1948, through the 1961 and 2008 landmark legislations and their strengths and weaknesses, to the present. The paper ends with recommendations for future air pollution policy in Israel.
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