The Inter-ministerial Committee for Legislation ordered on Monday the establishment of a new inter-ministerial committee tasked with advising the government on how to proceed with obsolete beach construction plans. The ministers made the decision to establish the new committee following a discussion about a bill to amend the 2004 Law for Preservation of Coasts, supported by 76 Knesset members. The bill, proposed by MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) and formulated by Adam Teva V’Din (Israel Union for Environmental Defense), aims to prevent the realization of outdated building plans on the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and Lake Kinneret shores.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 that were approved more than eight years ago undergo an additional review by the Committee for the Preservation of Coasts (the ValHof). Some plans that would likely face review as a result of such legislation would be resorts and other construction plans at Betzet Beach, Nahsholim, the Lake Kinneret shores, Achziv Beach, Shave Zion, Bat Yam and others, according to Adam Teva V’Din. There are currently more than 50 beach construction plans approved more than eight years ago still on the table, Adam Teva V’Din estimates. About 31 of these plans represent threats to public interest, the organization said.
“It is completely clear that we cannot continue to ignore the problem when the public loses more and more beaches in favor of superfluous building plans that serve few,” Khenin said. “Therefore, the committee must act quickly, and I intend to keep track of their 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 inter-ministerial committee. “This committee must make only one decision, and that is the preservation of public interest,” Bracha said. “We will follow the work of the committee and ensure that this is indeed the end to wild construction on the coasts.”