Haifa Appeals Plan to Build Military Base at City Port

The Haifa municipality on Sunday filed an appeal to the Defense Ministry's plan to construct a military harbor at the city port.

According to the municipality, the Defense Ministry presented a plan two years ago for the establishment of a military marina, but did not reveal that it also planned to build additional structures - 25 meters high and 150 meters wide - on the site.

In its petition against the Defense Ministry to the Jerusalem District Court, the Haifa municipality wrote that "this massive construction, in its height and width, has passed the line of reason." Pending the court's decision on the matter, Haifa has requested to prohibit the construction work scheduled to begin in the near future.

The administrative petition claims the decision to approve the project contradicts the national zoning plan, which had designated the western section of the Haifa port area for residential housing, tourism, commerce and entertainment. According to the petition, the construction could have a negative effect on the city's economy.

Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav and civil engineer Ariel Waterman said the construction could also block the city skyline, particularly the view of the bay as well as the area of the city's Bahai center.

The Appeals Committee on Military Facilities approved building the military harbor in late August and decided to begin immediate construction of wave breakers and platforms, as well as the dehydration of current sea zones.

In exchange, the committee agreed to clear out defense facilities as well as a naval instruction base in the western port zone, so as to allow the continued use of the area for developing local tourism.

According to the municipality, the committee has disregarded its own proposal to the city, which was to transfer the construction of the military port to the eastern section of the city harbor.