WHY WE WORK ON COASTLINE PROTECTION
Israel needs to uphold the public’s interest to benefit from its narrow coastline in order to maintain the balance between industrial, defense, commercial and public needs.
We have an emergency situation on our hands! Israel’s beaches are in danger!
A series of legal and planning reforms threaten to rip apart Israel’s fundamental coastline protections.
If we don’t act now, there is a growing threat that our kids and grandkids will be forced to enjoy the beach through family photos and documentaries (and we aren’t being overly dramatic!).
Coastline protection in our in DNA, it is the cornerstone of our 'Ani Ma'amin'.
Read more about our work on coastline protection here.
THREAT: Cheaper tourist vacations at the expense of Israelis’ access to beaches
Under the guise of boosting the tourism, the Minister of Tourism is hastily pushing through an amendment to the National Planning and Building Law aimed at creating more hotels.
The amendment allows the construction of new hotels and tourist attractions to sidestep carefully crafted coastline safeguards including the Coastline Protection Law (2004) and the National Zoning Plan. These statutory safeguards were designed to prevent this kind of rampant construction on our shores.
Moreover, the amendment seeks to recognize tourism as national infrastructure which will fast-track construction approvals outside of statutory national planning frameworks.
The sponsor of the bill believes that building more hotels will drop the cost of tourist vacations by 20% within five years. However, this estimated boon to Israel’s tourism industry will come at the expense of Israel’s beautiful beaches - an integral part of the Israeli experience and Israelis’ most popular recreational resource.
Senior attorney and author of the coastline protection law, Eli Ben Ari, paints a picture of what our beaches will look like if the law passes.
“To get a glimpse of the future under this new law, take a short stroll along the Carmel Beach in Haifa. Stand before the Carmel Beach Towers - now imagine four more just like them! These two existing buildings already scare off tourists, even before the construction of four monstrous additions, which we stopped when the Supreme Court accepted our petition and ruled that selling private apartments in these projects is illegal. But now, thanks to the proposed law, there is a good chance that additional four towers will become a reality. The law will roll-back essential coastline protections which we worked hard to establish.”
Will national treasures like Achziv beach soon mimic the built-up Carmel beach with concrete eyesores in place of sandcastles? Will Israeli kids be forced to enjoy the beach through family photos and documentaries? If Israel’s beaches are destroyed by over-development, which holiday-makers will want to spend their vacations here?
THREAT: Coastline construction vs. sandcastles
We are working to stop the approval of a new master plan for the country’s coastline (Tama 1) which will cancel the protected status of 13,000 dunams of beaches and leave them open for rezoning for construction. The move is part of a process to replace existing master plans with new versions which drastically reduce the protections now in place for coastal areas.
The new master plan will:
1. Remove restrictions to build within 100 meters (300 feet) of the shoreline.
2. Remove the protected status of 13,000 dunams of beaches.
3. Allow the building of infrastructure projects all along the shoreline for the first time.
Adam Teva V’Din: Israel’s coastline protectors
For 25 years we have used our unique legal and planning expertise to protect Israel’s beaches. This is how we saved the Palmachim beach from development. This is how we stopped the expansion of the Carmel Beach Towers and other coastal threats.
Hundreds of beach-loving Israelis are pitching in!
In response to the rapidly unfolding events, we recently launched an emergency crowd-funding campaign for our Israeli supporters (Hebrew). Hundreds of beach-loving Israelis are pitching in to help us get the job done. They appreciate that our most loved recreational resource is in grave danger and have confidence in our ability to protect it.
The public pressure is already working! Thanks to the help of committed supporters like you we temporarily succeeded to remove the controversial amendment from decision makers' tables after we found out that the way it was passed through the Knesset wasn't quite kosher. But there is lots more work to be done and we can’t do it alone!
There's still time to donate! The emergency campaign continues because Israel's beaches are never saved - they are always being saved!