Want to Swim in Lake Kinneret? Then Pay for It

Kinneret Towns Association wants to double parking fees at lake’s beaches; Interior Ministry objects.

The Kinneret Association of Towns has requested to double the parking fees on the lake’s beaches. The Interior Ministry, which has to authorize the raise, told Haaretz it will try to maintain the existing prices.

Two years ago the ministry authorized the towns around Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) to pass a bylaw regulating parking payment. Since then visitors have been charged NIS 5.7 for each of the first three parking hours, and NIS 2 for every hour afterward up to a limit of NIS 59.

The fee is limited to NIS 59 for the first 24 hours and to NIS 48 from the second day on.

Earlier this year Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar denied the association’s request to raise the parking prices to NIS 120 for 24 hours.

The association was formed five and a half years ago with the intention of operating and opening the lake’s beaches to the public free of charge. Before that numerous beaches, including public ones, were closed to the public because regional councils and private individuals had fenced off most of them and were charging admission.

The association told the ministry that the parking fees were not covering the beaches' maintenance costs. Consequently, several franchisees who had operated the beaches returned the franchises to the association, which in turn needed a constant flow of state funds to operate them.

The Interior Ministry confirmed it had denied the association’s request to double the parking fees in 2013. “As for 2014, the ministry will ask the Finance Ministry to continue to finance the beach maintenance … The ministries and association will reexamine the operation costs to ensure providing the required services to vacationers, without increasing the fees,” a ministry statement said.

Gadi Shitrit