Israel’s marine space in the Mediterranean Sea is larger than the country’s terrestrial land area, and can serve many needs of society, the economy and the environment. It contains enormous potential energy resources and is also the main source for the production of water for domestic consumption, and holds valuable natural and heritage resources. The marine space is the main commercial and an infrastructure bridge to the rest of the world, and it could be seen as a future land reserve for infrastructure development, and perhaps even for urban development. At the same time, the marine space is also Israel’s “blue lung,” offering a vast open seascape and opportunities for leisure and recreational activities.
In recent years the marine space, due to emerging human activities, has become an arena of conflicting uses, and between these uses and the natural and heritage resources it harbors. Nonetheless, until now there has been no overall planning of the marine space, and policies addressing this area are currently lacking, especially when compared to the level of administrative concern and planning effort allotted to Israel’s terrestrial part.
The Israel Marine Plan Is the initiative of a group of researchers and planners at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies in the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion. Professional consultants in a variety of marine fields have joined the effort, from Israel and abroad, along with Ethos – Architecture, Planning and Environment, which has managed the planning process. The process was conducted with the assistance of a large group of stakeholders. This group included representatives of government ministries and government bodies, environmental organizations, local authorities, and representatives of the business sector that has a connection with the sea. The stakeholders have had considerable impact on the process of formulating the plan, and their contribution has enriched the end product.
The Israel Marine Plan aspires to realize a new marine vision. Through its goals, the plan offers ways for informed and responsible management of the sea, applying an overall ecological approach. It aims to develop marine knowledge, to improve public awareness of what exists in the marine space, and to shape the way it is depicted spatially. The Israel Marine Plan outlines a vision and a series of clear objectives, as well as policy measures for attaining them. Planning and management of Israel’s marine space according to this plan will enable realizing all objectives and to create synergies between them.
The Israel Marine Plan is intended to integrate, accompany and support parallel measures of planning, legislation, research and study of the sea in Israel, at present and in the future. Its aim is to establish a long-term policy and an inclusive and effective spatial plan for Israel’s marine space in the Mediterranean Sea.