Shvil Yisrael Founder Uri Dvir Dies Route of Israel National Trail. Map: public domain

July 2, 2011

Uri Dvir, one of the founders of Shvil Yisrael (the Israel National Trail), dies at age 80 at home in Tel Aviv.

Dvir was born in Tel Aviv in 1931 and began his career at the Egged Cooperative, one of Israel’s largest bus companies. He established the Egged Tours division and planned many tourism programs. In 1960, working for the Ministry of Tourism, he established the School of Tourism for tour guides and taught classes for 20 years before opening and leading Beit Berl College’s department for Land of Israel studies.

Dvir was one of the founders of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and chaired its Israeli Trails Committee for more than 40 years. He wrote books on hiking and established trails and markers around the country. He planned and initiated the Israel National Trail, a 620-mile hiking path that runs the length of the state, from Kibbutz Dan near the Lebanese border to Eilat on the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba, and typically takes about two months to complete. The trail includes beaches, waterfalls, deserts and historical markers. Inspired by the Appalachian Trail, Shvil Yisrael has been listed by National Geographic among the world’s top 20 epic trails.