Israel plans to fill its shores with imported black and grey sand from Turkey, according to, Protecting the Cliffs of the Mediterranean Shore, a publicly owned Israeli corporation.
The corporation explained that local sand was much more expensive to purchase and therefore the beaches would be filled with sand from another country, in this case Turkey, according to the report of Turkish business daily Dünya.
Israeli media outlets reported that the Turkish sand will amount to 1 million cubic meters in its first stage, about the volume of the Empire State Building.
Yaakov Becher, the director of Jan de Nul corporation, which is handling the sand's export, stated that the average diameter of each grain of Israeli sand was too small and that the diameter of sand in Turkey was twice as big. By importing from Turkey, the sand would be able to reach a larger section of the beach as well as protect the coastal cliffs of Israel.
Some groups have opposed the deal on political and environmental grounds, with Turkish environmental organizations saying that the export brings about the possibility of damaging or disturbing species hidden within the sand, which could damage the local ecosystem.
The political relationship between the two countries has had a tumultuous history over the last decade, mainly due to Israeli occupation in Palestine, and hit its lowest point point in 2010 following an Israeli naval raid on a Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara en route to deliver humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip. The raid killed 10 activists.
A deal on restoring diplomatic ties and compensation for Mavi Marmara victims was signed between the two countries in June 2016, bringing a relative thaw in relations.
Most recently Israel sparked anger across the region after it installed metal detectors and security cameras at the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex following a July 14 attack near the Haram al-Sharif, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, during which gunmen killed two policemen. Eight people, including five Palestinians and three Jewish settlers, were killed in the ensuing clashes and violence.