A six-story, 160-room hotel will be built on Eilat’s Coral Beach, over the objections of the Environmental Protection Ministry, the Tourism Ministry announced on Sunday.

The decision to move ahead on the project follows a decision Sunday morning by the Ministerial Committee for Internal Affairs and Services, who voted to permanently dismiss any attempts by the Environmental Protection Ministry to stop the project.

Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov (Israel Beitenu) referred to efforts by Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) to stop the project as “populism meant to score points with the public,” adding “the Israeli public is a responsible public which understands the importance of reaching a balance between protecting nature, the environment, and the landscape, and assisting economic development and growth of the tourism industry.”

Meseznikov added that the new hotel, which will be built on a 12-dunam site that currently has a two-story structure on it and is next to the Underwater Observatory, will meet all “green building” requirements.

The Society for Protection of Nature in Israel issued a response to the committee’s ruling on Sunday, saying “the beaches of Eilat are a national asset,” and called on planners and decision-makers to treat them as such.

The organization said they believe that such construction is not suitable for the southern beaches of Eilat, “where the development is supposed to be minimal and limited and definitely does not call for the addition of a six-story hotel covering a 2,500-meter plot. Such construction endeavors are suitable for the northern beaches of Eilat, which are more suited to development.”

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger