SPNI: New Fence Impedes Access to Trail Around Kinneret

The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel says a fence recently constructed near Lake Kinneret will impede access to a trail around the lake's shores. "The new reality [of the path] around the lake does not allow for the building of such fences," the organization says.

The Jordan Valley Regional Council says the fence, which surrounds the marine studies area north of Beit Yerah High School on the shore south of Tiberias, is an Education Ministry requirement.

Moshe Perlmutter, SPNI's coordinator of beaches, says he discovered that the Israel Nature and Parks Authority had ordered construction of the fence, but had not received a permit. However, work continued on Sunday and the fence now blocks off access to the Kinneret Trail, which is slated to circumnavigate the lake.

In a letter to Jordan Valley Regional Council chairman Yossi Vardi, who is also the chairman of the local planning and construction council, Perlmutter wrote, "The trail, marked in this area for a long time, is used by walkers going from the Beit Yerah area to the Kinneret Cemetery. A request to officially establish a segment of the Kinneret Trail here has been submitted to the local planning and building council. Since the fence has been built without a permit, we demand that the appropriate steps be taken urgently to remove it and ensure free passage to the Kinneret Trail."

According to Vardi, "This is a center for sailing studies that is an institution belonging to the Education Ministry and therefore I am obligated, according to instructions from the Education Ministry director general, to fence off the place." Vardi says walkers will have no choice but to go around the fenced-off area. He added angrily that "the Kinneret is 65 kilometers around, and when we finish creating the whole path and only one kilometer remains, we'll sit and talk."

Meanwhile, an illegal building constructed by a Tiberias businessman on the shore north of Tiberias was demolished this week.

Moti Mordechai and the Paradise Beach Company implemented a demolition order on an illegal structure in a beach area north of Tiberias, which they own. The area is defined as a scenic preserve where no construction is permitted. An attempt was made to approve the status of the structure as a preserved building; however, this status was rescinded, paving the way for the demolition.