This is a deal in which the owners of rights in the Dolphinarium waive their rights to the abandoned site and receive in exchange from the state a huge amount of construction rights. The difference in value between the two sites is nearly NIS 1 billion. In our petition, we argue that Israel Land Administration was obligated to market the public land by auction in order to get as much money as possible for the public treasury. At the same time, the Dolphinarium site could have been expropriated and the developers paid compensation equal to the site’s value. It could then have been developed as part of the promenade.
Movement for Quality Government lawyer Adv. Itamar Shahar says that in preparing the Supreme Court petition, it was discovered that ILA had not acted completely in good faith. “We did not understand why the state was in such a hurry to give space to a private developer. We found that the area was part of the Manshieh neighborhood, which was partially destroyed in the War of Independence and was finally vacated in the late 1960s in order to construct a central business district. In 2007, ILA made it clear to the State Comptroller that if the land is marketed in a public auction, there is a concern that people from Manshieh will demand compensation for the expropriation. This was apparently ILA’s excuse for the connection and re-division of the two sites.”