The Israel Lands Authority must create a more comprehensive vision for
protecting the nation’s remaining open beaches and reexamine outdated
construction plans that threaten to harm the coastal environment, the State
Comptroller’s Report indicated.
Israel’s coast extends about 196
kilometers along the Mediterranean, 56 kilometers along the perimeter of Lake
Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) and 14 kilometers along the Red Sea in Eilat. Over
the years, however, the Mediterranean coast particularly has become home to a
vast array of harbors, breakwaters, hotels, homes, military bases, power plants
and other facilities – leaving only 53 kilometers of open, natural beach, the
Despite the fact that a 2004 Law for Preservation of
Coasts exists to protect much of the remaining untouched coast, many projects
that were approved prior to that year are still, quite problematically,
receiving undisputed building permits, the state comptroller
During the 1980s a number of laws regulating beach building
began to appear, including Tama-13 Kinneret (Partial National Master Plan for
beaches in the Kinneret area) in 1981 and Tama-13 for the Mediterranean (Partial
Master Plan for Mediterranean beaches) in 1983. The turn of the century,
however, prompted more stringent policies toward handling the country’s
remaining cost, causing the Protection of the Coastal Environment Law to emerge
in 2004 and the Protection of the Kinneret Coastal Environment Law in 2008, the
Problematically, however, many of the beachside
projects approved prior to 2004 still have yet to be built, and some continue to
receive permits without reexamination, the state comptroller said.
report therefore examined the activities related to this matter in the ILA, the
Interior Ministry’s planning administration, relevant local authorities, the
Tourism Ministry and the Environmental Protection Ministry.
One plan that
the report examined closely is a tourism, recreation and sports center on the
Kinneret beach, which was approved in May 2000 and is slated to be built within
50 meters of the coast. The 2004 law, incidentally, prohibits building within
300 meters from the coast.
According to the May 2000 approval, the
Kinneret complex would need to be built by 2005, yet the ILA published a tender
for the project only in 2007, and only in February 2008 – approaching the
approval procedures for the Kinneret Coastal Preservation Law – did the ILA
provide a lease to the company that won the tender.
The construction firm
was supposed to complete the design and apply for a building permit within six
months, yet it still had not done so by December 2012 – the completion of the
state comptroller audit period, the report noted.
“It is appropriate that
ILA will reexamine the old program and will prepare a comprehensive plan for the
Kinneret beaches that will examine the fitness of the late and the fittingness
of the project to this plan,” the report said.
development project that the state comptroller slammed involved various
individual plans to erect hotels, housing units and parking lots along the
Carmel Coast – particularly the 9.5-kilometer stretch from Neveh Yam to Dor
Replete with nature and landscape, this beach stretch can thrive
only if the region maintains a continuum of open spaces and natural habitats –
otherwise known as “ecological succession,” according to the state
Deciding whether to approve coastal projects in this region
therefore requires a comprehensive regional vision, the report declared.
Nonetheless, by the time the state comptroller audit ended, some of the plans
had already been approved and others are still awaiting
“Sometimes plans do not match new needs and a new planning
vision, because since their preparation, legislative changes have been applied
and new insights have formed,” the state comptroller said.
In light of
this, the ILA and its management must initiate a comprehensive discussion on the
generation of a coastal policy that is more fitting to the times, the report
To date, the ILA has not done so, even though it was expressly
asked to do so, following a special State Comptroller’s Report on the state of
Palmahim Beach in 2009.
The ILA “must take into account planning
principles anchored in the interests of the public, preserving open spaces and
beaches for the greater public,” the state comptroller said.
to the report, the ILA said that it will study the recommendations in depth and
draw conclusions as necessary. However, there is significant reform currently
underway in the ILA regarding both the reexamination of obsolete beach
development plans and the importance of ensuring public interest, the authority
“The Israel Lands Authority will continue to work toward managing,
planning and preserving the nation’s land,” the authority added.
part, the Interior Ministry responded that its planning administration is
currently working on upgrading the Tama-13 Kinneret policy to reflect a design
concept that matches the needs of today and is more comprehensive in its outlook
toward eliminating and adding resorts. Meanwhile, the planning administration is
also examining the Tama-13 Mediterranean policy in order to determine whether
there is a need to update this as well, the ministry said.
State Comptroller’s Report “a wake-up call,” MK Dov Henin (Hadash) said he
planned to advance a law for protecting beaches against old plans through the
“We are only left with a small part of coast free from building
and environmental destruction,” Henin said. “If we do not fight for what remains
today, no beaches will remain for us in the future.”
Stay on top of the news - get the Jerusalem Post headlines direct to your inbox!