The northern coast's Achziv beach, which has been closed to the public for years and used to be an exclusive Club Med resort, soon will be reopened to the public free of charge, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority said on Tuesday.

The beach, a symbol of public concern over the privatization of sections of the coastline, will become part of an adjacent national park now that a lease to operate a tourist site there is expiring.

A Club Med resort operated on that strip of beach for many years. The resort was fenced off and accessible only to those paying a fee. Although the Club Med there shut down several years ago, the site has remained closed, but has still retained the status of a leased tourism site. With the end of the lease this month, an agreement has been struck by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority with the Israel Lands Administration and the regional council to return the site to public access as part of the national park.

The parks authority confirmed that the beach will be open without charge and plans are underway to create an unbroken stretch of coastline accessible on foot from Nahariya to Rosh Hanikra on the Lebanese border. Restoration work on the former Club Med beach will begin shortly, said Guy Alon, the parks authority's northern district director.

About a year ago, the parks authority took similar steps to incorporate Palmahim beach, south of Tel Aviv, into a national park and provide unrestricted access to the public.