Sironit Beach on Lake Kinneret.
Sironit Beach on Lake Kinneret. Photo by Gil Eliyahu
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Parking along the shores of Lake Kinneret will now cost only a few shekels per hour and will cost less than NIS 60 for the first 24 hours, under a new Kinneret Urban Union bylaw that sets parking fees for the area's beaches.

The new approved fees are NIS 5.70 per hour for the first three hours; each hour after that is only NIS 2. As a result, parking will cost only NIS 59.10 for the first 24 hours, while additional days will cost only NIS 48.

Over the years, parking fees at the Kinneret's beaches had become a free-for-all, with many lot operators charging inflated rates of as much as NIS 100 or more per car, even if passengers wanted to spend only a short time at the beach.

By law, it is forbidden to charge bathers for using a beach except in the case of a small number of sites that have a special permit from the Interior Ministry to demand payment because they provide extra services like showers and changing rooms.

Local operators can, however, charge "reasonable" fees for parking so long as paying for parking is not a condition for using the beach.

The only beaches around the Kinneret that are allowed to charge entrance fees are two that are within the Tiberias city limits. Thus the only fees that most beach operators can charge are for parking.

Although bylaws in effect in the local authorities around the lake called for daily parking fees of only NIS 45-NIS 55, many beach owners were charging far more. Even the lower amounts were considered "daily fees" - to be paid no matter how much time bathers spent at the beach; there was no provision for hourly parking.

Over the past two years, the Kinneret Urban Union has been running special buses to the beaches during the summer and on holidays, to enable bathers to get to the shore without bringing their cars.

The new regulations, in any event, call for parking near Kinneret beaches to be paid for solely by the hour, just as at all urban parking lots or on streets in cities throughout the country. As a result, people coming to the lake for a short dip will no longer have to pay exorbitant fees.

The new rules also state that residents of the local authorities around the Kinneret, who in the past were exempt from parking fees at beaches in the jurisdiction where they live, will now have to pay for parking, but will get a discount of 50 percent.