The Interministerial Committee for Legislation ordered the establishment of a new interministerial committee on Monday to advise the government on what to do with obsolete beach construction plans.
The ministers decided to establish the committee following discussion of a bill to amend the 2004 Law for Preservation of Coasts that was supported by 76 Knesset members.
The bill, formulated by Adam Teva V’Din (Israel Union for Environmental Defense) and proposed by MK Dov Henin (Hadash), aims to prevent the implantation of obsolete building plans on the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and Lake Kinneret shores.
If passed, the bill would require that all yet-to-be built construction plans approved more than eight years ago go through an additional review by the Committee for the Preservation of Coasts (the ValHof). Plans that would have to face review under that legislation would include resorts and other construction plans at Betzet Beach, Nahsholim, the Lake Kinneret shores, Achziv Beach, Shavei Zion, Bat Yam and others, according to Adam Teva V’Din.
There are currently more than 50 beach construction plans still on the table after more than eight years, Adam Teva V’Din estimates. About 31 of these plans represent threats to public interest, the organization said.
Both Henin and representatives of Adam Teva V’Din praised the Interministerial Committee for Legislation’s decision to establish an interministerial committee for resolving the matter.
“It is clear that we cannot continue to ignore the problem when the public loses more and more beaches to superfluous building plans that serve few,” Henin said.
“The committee must act quickly, and I intend to keep track of its activities. I thank the beach activists and organizations that led this significant campaign on behalf of the public.”
Amit Bracha, executive director of Adam Teva V’Din, said that his organization welcomes the decision to establish the interministerial committee.
“This committee must take decisions using only one principle: the preservation of public interest,” Bracha said. “We will follow the committee’s work and put an end to wild construction on the coasts.”
On Tuesday at Knesset Environment Day, Adam Teva V’Din will present a new “Guide to Public Rights at Sea and on Beaches.” In addition to evaluating beach construction based on old building plans, the guide examines other issues such as beach entrance fees and management of the marine environment.
“This is the government’s historic hour to remedy past wrongdoings,” Bracha added.
“The ministers must know that there will be a public price for resistance to such an important law.”