Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz has instructed his office to renew the naval activity at the Tel Aviv Port within two years. The minister appointed a special committee, headed by Transportation Ministry Director-General to prepare the port for the transition together with the Tel Aviv Municipality.
According to the plan, the port's depth will be extended, wharfs will be laid and its entrance will be rebuilt to allow the new marina to take in 100 large yachts measuring up to 10 meters (32 feet) in length. Particularly large ships will be able to dock outside the port.
The Tel Aviv Port was officially opened in 1938. The last ship docked there in 1965 following the opening of the Ashdod Port. After the State of Israel's establishment, the government considered turning it into Israel's main port alongside the Haifa Port, but the plan was shelved following the construction of the Ashdod Port.
About 10 years ago, the Otzar Mifalei Yam and Atarim companies came up with the idea of turning the port into a recreation and culture area. Today, it is home to more than 60 businesses in the food, fashion, health and communication industries, as well as banquet halls and clubs. A huge hotel and supermarket are also planned in the area.
Tel Aviv currently has two active marinas, one in the Jaffa Port and one at Atarim Square. "It's a tourist attraction for foreign yachtsmen as well," says Minister Katz.
Is there room for another marina in the city? According to Itamar Shimoni, CEO of the Atarim company (owned by the Tourism Ministry and the Tel Aviv Municipality), "There definitely is, and we are ready to take this upon ourselves using our experience.
"There is no room at the Tel Aviv marina, and the marina in Herzliya is overcrowded. The Tel Aviv Port with its recreation area is ideal for a luxurious marina, and the potential is definitely there."