Artificial Islands Proposed for Israel’s Coast

YERUSHALAYIM -
An aerial view of Herzliya.
An aerial view of Herzliya.

Israeli coastal cities are looking at ways to expand – into the Mediterranean Sea.

The Herzliya municipality is preparing to issue an international tender to examine the feasibility of building artificial islands along the northern coast. Two islands are being suggested: one for housing, the other for an airport for domestic flights, according to a report in Globes on Wednesday.

Japanese delegations that visited Israel last month said the proposal was feasible.

The Tel Aviv municipality is also working on plans for an artificial island on which an international airport and other infrastructure will be built.

Herzliya city engineer Mike Sacca offered some details: the proposal calls at this stage for 40,000 housing units, hotels, and a stadium on one island; an airport for internal and commercial flights on the other. Total cost of construction has been estimated at 4 billion shekels.

“There is no alternative to building islands,” Sacca maintained. “We need an airport and more housing units. There isn’t enough room for this on land.”

Tel Aviv council member Etai Pinkas says that Tel Aviv is considering building islands directly west of the Glilot Interchange. Road 5 would be extended along a bridge one kilometer into the Mediterranean to islands holding an international airport and a desalination plant.

The possibilities of artificial islands have been discussed in Israel before. Some 20 years ago, Israel and the Netherlands signed a memorandum of intent for joint construction of artificial islands in the Mediterranean. But nothing came of it.

In 2002, the government approved the construction of two artificial islands off the Mediterranean coast: one for an airport off the Tel Aviv shore and a residential island opposite the town of Bat Yam to the north.