Existing building plans for beachside construction will now be subject to
reexamination, after the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs approved
an amendment to the 2004 Law for the Protection of the Coastal Environment on
“I am happy that I succeeded in convincing my colleagues to
support the law,” said Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan. “Very
little space is left on the beach areas for the enjoyment of the public, and
there is no reason to continue to block them with concrete monsters. Even
countries that enjoy much more extensive coasts don’t authorize private building
on their beaches.”
The amendment corrects a loophole in the original law,
calling for a reexamination of beach-building plans approved before the creation
of that law but still not yet executed. If the Committee to Save the Coastal
Environmental (the ValHof) – also established in 2004 alongside the law –
determines that the site of the scheduled plans constitutes a natural resource,
the developer will need to move the project to a location slightly farther from
the shore, according to the new amendment.
Last Tuesday, environmental
activists had staged an “emergency march” from Tel Aviv City Hall to Bograshov
Beach, in support of the amendment’s passage.
Submitted by MK Dov Henin
(Hadash) and signed by 17 additional lawmakers, the text of the amendment was
drafted by environmental advocacy group Adam Teva V’Din – Israel Union for
Environmental Defense and the legal clinic at Bar-Ilan University.
called the approval “a significant step in protecting the coast of Israel,”
thanking his partners from the Beaches Forum and Adam Teva V’Din, as well as
other environmental organizations and the general public, for the recent surge
in support for the bill.
“The passage of the coastal protection law is a
significant step in protecting Israel’s coasts from initiatives that threaten to
erode the few beaches we have left,” said Henin, who is the chairman of the
Knesset’s Joint Committee for Health and Environment. “Instead of struggling
each time separately – in Palmahim, in Betzet, in Nahsholim, in Dor, in Nitzanim
and in many other cases – the law will produce a widespread, professional and
Prior to the amendment’s passage, Adam Teva V’Din had
said in a statement: “It is necessary to put an end legislatively to old plans
that will lead to irreversible environmental damage on the shores of our
“In recent years we have seen the widespread phenomenon of
apartments, vacation villages and marinas being built on the most beautiful
slices of beach in Israel, blocking public access to the beach and causing
damage to unique and pristine beaches,” the organization’s executive director,
Amit Bracha wrote. “A portion of the plans were approved more than 20 years ago,
during a period when the importance of preserving open spaces and beaches was
not yet recognized.”
Bracha therefore stressed that the government has a
“responsibility to repair the damages of the past.” The organization praised
Sunday’s approval, and asked that government officials continue to support the
amendment as it goes through the Knesset.
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