Dear All,

As was previously updated, Israel will participate this year in the WLM competition. We wish to update you with our progress.

Our first objective was to try and obtain a list of national monuments. This proved to be much more difficult than originally anticipated. According to Israeli antiquities law, any building or object created or built before 1700 is a protected archeological object. Buildings which were built afterwards were not protected. After the demolishing of the Herzaliya Gymnasium in 1962 [1], and following public protests, the National Council for Preservation of Heritage Sites was created. This body did not have any legal capacity to protect landmarks, and worked at advancing public awareness of national heritage sites. Only in 2011 was legislation passed protecting such landmarks. According to the legislation, the National Council will create lists of protected sites which will approved by the local municipalities in order to come into force. This resulted in local politics being involved, and most of the lists were never approved due to local economic interests.

We approached the Council, and requested their co-operation. We have held several meetings with the Council, and eventually convinced them to join us in the project. (One of the difficulties was that the Council itself has an annual photography competition, and the WLM would compete with it.) Upon receiving the blessing of the general manager of the National Council, we discovered that the Council itself does not have the lists of monuments. With the assistance of the Council, and after a week of searching, they were able to locate some of the lists, which are uploaded to the project page on Wikipedia [2].

This will be the first time that the list of national monuments will be available online to the Israeli public.

We have also contacted several sponsors, and currently await their decision to sponsor the competition.

We have contacted the largest local amateur photography school, and asked it to sponsor some of the events we are planning as part of the competition. We will further update once these events are finalized.