Marine National Parks
In addition to the marine nature reserves, the main goal of which is to protect marine habitats and natural assets, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority works to promote the official declaration of marine national parks. The purpose of the planned marine national parks is to preserve heritage and landscape sites, such as coastal cities and their ports, as well as to encourage recreational and sports activities in keeping with the values of the place, for example, diving, snorkeling, non-motor-boat sailing and surfing.
The law governing national parks, nature reserves, national sites and commemoration sites, passed in 1998, defines a national park as: “an area that serves or is intended to serve the recreational needs of the public in the heart of nature or to perpetuate values of historical, archeological, architectural, natural or landscape significance, whether it remains in its natural state or has been equipped to serve these goals.”
Although most ancient sites in a coastal-marine environment are known, planning has usually only been moved ahead with regard to the land components of these sites.
Among the suitable archaeological sites to be officially declared marine national parks are ancient sites built on land that sank into the sea, prehistoric sites that were flooded when the sea level rose over recent millennia and shipwrecks and their cargoes.
Proposed marine national parks according to Israel Nature and Parks Authority policy in 2011:
- Jisr az-Zarqa
- Tel Dor
- Palmahim (Yavne Yam) – in April 2018 a survey was carried out at the site as a basis for officially declaring it a national park