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Gazelle Valley Now Open in Jerusalem

One of the newest attractions in Jerusalem opened just weeks ago, offering an oasis of flora and fauna in the middle of the bustling city.After years of controversy and threat of urban development, Jerusalem’s largest natural habitat reopens this week to the satisfaction of local residents, both the two-legged and four-legged kind.Jerusalem’s Emek HaTzvaim (or Gazelle Valley in English), is located at the juncture of the Rehavia, Rakefet and Hovevei Zion waterways that merge to flow southwards to the Refaim Stream, a tributary that in turn, empties into the Sorek water basin.The valley, whose official name is Pri Har Valley, received its nicknamed for a herd of about 17 gazelles of the subspecies Gazella that live in this area. The valley is one of the largest surviving areas of natural vegetation in Jerusalem, and home to a variety of rare native flora.Gazelle Valley itself is surrounded by residential neighborhoods — Givat Mordechai to the north, Bayit v’Gan to the west, Ramat Sharett to the south and Gonenim and Katamonim to the west. The Valley is an important section in a series of valleys extending from Sacher Park to the north, to the Valley of the Cross, the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens towards Malcha and the Refaim Stream.Throughout the years, southwest Jerusalem has been critical to the city’s development in an area that includes the Malha Mall, Teddy Stadium, the Technology Park and Begin Highway. The gazelle population, which had once wandered freely, now found itself trapped between high-speed roadways and residential neighborhoods, forced to settle in an area no larger than 62.5 acres.


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