Short on space, Israel look to artificial islands

Cabinet to vote on plan to form new landmasses to house airport, infrastructures; environmental group anticipates problems



Israel is well-known for its innovation and outside the box thinking, but usually not on the scale now being suggested. At the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, ministers are set to decide whether to give the green light to an ambitious new project that would see artificial islands constructed off Israel’s coastline.

Satellite image of Kansai International Airport in Osaka Bay in Japan (photo credit: courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory)

Satellite image of Kansai International Airport in Osaka Bay in Japan - Photo: courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory

Plans for the islands, which will be home to a new airport, a sea port, a power plant and a military testing base, have already been approved by the Ministry of Interior, and if approved by cabinet ministers on Sunday, will go to a special inter-ministerial committee for more specific discussions on implementation.

Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz told Army Radio that artificial islands are an accepted solution for countries that are short on space. “We just have to make sure that they cause no damage to the sea and coast,” he said.

Environmental groups have already spoken out against the plan that hopes to distance pollution sources from Israel’s coastal cities, saying that islands will cause irreversible damage to Israel’s shoreline. A spokesperson for Adam, Teva VaDin said that artificial islands would erase many of Israel’s beaches by preventing sand from reaching the coast.

The spokesperson said that in other places such as Japan, where artificial islands have been constructed, the islands were built in bays or inlets and not on the open sea.

Other countries that have large-scale artificial islands off their coast include the Netherlands, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Last year Israel announced it is considering building an artificial island off blockaded Gaza, as a long-term solution to shipping goods into the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave.


View original Times of Israel publication at: