Israel is examining the possibility of constructing artificial islands off the coast of Israel to host vital infrastructure facilities and free space for residential construction, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said he was setting up an advisory team to push the project ahead. “Israel is one of the most crowded countries on earth and the projection is that by the middle of the century, it may become the most crowded country on earth,” Netanyahu said
According to the World Bank, Israel is currently the 27th most crowded country on earth, with 395 people per square kilometer (in comparison). But according to demographer Sergio Della Pergola, from Be’er Sheva northward Israel has the highest population density in the Western world: Forty percent of the country’s population lives within a 10-kilometer strip along the coast.
The length of Israel’s Mediterranean coast is about 196 km of which only about 53 are natural open beach.
“We have a coastline that houses crucial infrastructure such as desalination plants and power plants. What we are suggesting is that we build artificial islands off the coast of Israel that will be able to house these facilities and vacate space,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister said he had been looking into artificial islands off the coast of Israel since his first term in office in 1996. “Back then we began looking at artificial islands, but opposition from environmentalists and issues of feasibility put a stop to it,” Netanyahu said. “But in the 20 years that have passed since then, technology has advanced immensely and has also become far more environmentally friendly. We can also answer questions of economic and ecological feasibility. It is definitely within reach.”
The prime minister said the research team would be led by Avi Simhon, head of the National Economic Council.