Real Estate Developers and Environmentalists Clash Over Nahal Betzet Beach in Western Galilee

nahal betzet beach imageIt’s no surprise that real estate development and preservation of the environment usually don’t go hand in hand.  We’ve already featured some stories here on Green Prophet about how this conflict expresses itself in Israel, with posts about the need for intelligent urban design, how the Knesset Environment Committee recently started to fight to protect urban trees during urban development, and about a new eco-conscious town (Nurit) being built in Gilboa.  But what’s happening now on Nahal Betzet Beach is quite different.

The Nahal Betzet Beach, located in the western Galilee south of Rosh Hanikra, is home to diverse plant life and is an important egg-laying site for sea turtles.  It has been, until now, a beautiful and natural public beach – undisturbed by human construction.  That is, until the Israel Lands Administration recently opened up the beach for private development.

Private entrepreneurs will soon be able to bid for 206 dunam plots of land directly on the beach in order to build resorts and an artificial lake.  Not only will this threaten the plant and animal life on this truly unique beach, but it will take a public beach away from Israel’s citizens.

The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) is not taking this lightly.  They have already started an online petition to protest what they consider to be an illegal, undemocratic, and environmentally harmful act.  The petition calls on all people who believe that the few remaining public beaches should be preserved for future generations and who respect the importance and beauty of the plant life and sea turtles on Nahal Betzet Beach to sign and protest.

Read more about other green stories in the Galilee:: Green Prophet Visits Amirim, a Vegetarian Paradise in the Galilee, Ras Al-Ayn: A Model for Composting in Israel! and Israel’s First Wind Energy Developer Mey Eden (Eden Springs), Gets Windier on the Golan

About Karen Chernick

Much to the disappointment of her Moroccan grandmother, Karen became a vegetarian at the age of seven because of a heartfelt respect for other forms of life.She also began her journey to understand her surroundings and her impact on the environment.She even starting an elementary school Ecology Club and an environmental newsletter in the 3rd grade. (The proceeds of the newsletter went to non-profit environmental organizations, of course.) She now studies in New York.Karen can be reached at karen (at) greenprophet (dot) com.

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