Lighthouses of Israel
Like all of the Middle East, the territory of Israel was
part of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire for four centuries until World
War I. The area was occupied by British troops in 1917, and after the
end of the war it became part of the British Mandate of Palestine. The
state of Israel proclaimed its independence in 1948 when British forces
Israel has a coastline about 150 km (90 mi) long facing west on the Mediterranean
Sea. In addition, at its southern tip the country has a very short coastline
on the Gulf of Aqaba, an arm of the Red Sea. The most important ports
are Haifa and Ashdod on the Mediterranean and Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba.
Lighthouses in the country are operated by the Shipping and Ports Administration, an agency of the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety. There are historic light stations at Yafo (Jaffa), Tel Aviv, Har Karmel (Mount Carmel) and Akko (Acre). More information about them would certainly be welcome.
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS
World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume N of the
Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals for the Mediterranean Sea. Lights of the Gulf of Aqaba were formerly included in volume E of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog
Signals, but in 2013 they were moved to volume D with new numbers. U.S. NGA List numbers
are from Publication 113 for the Mediterranean Sea and 112 for the Gulf
- General Sources
- Israeli Lighthouses
- Danny Dorfman's outstanding collection of photos on Flickr.com.
- Online List
of Lights - Israel
- Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
- World of Lighthouses - Israel
- Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
- Lighthouses in Israel
- Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
- Light Towers and History Along the Israeli Coast
- This Hebrew-language article in Sailing News has the historical information also found in Wikipedia's articles.
Asiens, Australiens, and Ozeaniens auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.
Akko (Acre) Light, Akko, May 2009
Wikimedia public domain photo by Almog
- Eilat (Gulf of Aqaba) Lighthouse
- * Eilat
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 64 m (210 ft); white flash every
10 s. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) round 5-legged skeletal tower with lantern
and gallery, rising from a round 1-story equipment room. Lighthouse
painted white with black trim and a black band around each of the legs.
Dorfman's photo is at right,
Wikimedia has several distant views, and Google has an indistinct satellite
view. Located on a bluff on the west side of the Gulf of Aqaba
about 1.2 km (3/4 mi) northeast of the Egyptian border and 7 km (4.5
mi) southwest of the port of Eilat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS
ISR-002; Admiralty D7297.9 (ex-E6042); NGA 112-30436.
Ashkelon and Ashdod Lighthouses
- * Ashkelon (Ashqelon) Outer Breakwater
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; two green flashes every 6 s.
Approx. 18 m (56 ft) multistage unpainted concrete tower. A photo
is available, and Bing has an indistinct satellite
view. Ashkelon, in southwestern Israel, is the site of a large power
plant and a desalinization plant, and it is the Mediterranean terminal
of the Trans-Israel oil pipeline. Located at the end of the main breakwater
at Ashkelon. Site and tower closed. Admiralty N5971; NGA 113-21272.2.
- * Ashkelon (Ashqelon) Marina North Breakwater
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; two green flashes every 5 s.
Approx. 18 m (56 ft) multistage white tower mounted on a 2-story round concrete
base. Wikimedia has several photos, Lightphotos.net has a photo, and Google has a street view and an indistinct satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater of the Ashkelon Marina.
Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty N5970.5; NGA 113-21272.1.
Eilat Light, Eilat, September 2010
photo copyright Danny Dorfman; used by permission
- 1966. Active; focal plane 76 m (249 ft); three white flashes every
20 s. 42 m (138 ft) cylindrical concrete tower carrying an array
of communications gear as well as a lantern. The upper half of the
lighthouse is round and is painted in a red and white checkerboard
pattern; the lower half is triangular and is unpainted gray concrete.
The lantern and lens were transferred from the Yafo (Jaffa) Light (next entry). Dorfman has three good photos,
Wikimedia has a portfolio of photos, a 2009 closeup
is available, and Google has a street view and a fuzzy satellite
view. Ashdod, south of
Tel Aviv, has a large modern harbor and has become Israel's largest
port. Located on Yona Hill on the south side the harbor of Ashdod. Site and tower closed, but the lighthouse can be seen from many points in the area. ARLHS ISR-001; Admiralty N5967; NGA 113-21260.
Tel Aviv District Lighthouses
- * Yafo (Jaffa) (3) (Range Rear?)
- 1936 (station established 1862). Reactivated (?); focal plane unknown; white light, pattern unknown. Approx.
10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern, gallery,
and four ribs. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands.
The original lantern and lens were transferred to the Ashdod lighthouse in 1966. Remi Jouan's photo is at right, Dorfman has several photos,
Yehuda Cohen also has a good closeup photo,
and Wikimedia has a nice view
of the lighthouse in context, and Google has a street view but only a fuzzy satellite
view of the neighborhood. The general-purpose Jaffa Light was deactivated in 1966, but the tower continued to be well maintained as a daybeacon. The fresh paint seen in recent photos makes it appear very likely that the light has been reactivated, probably replacing a pair of small range lights described by the Admiralty and NGA light lists. (Nadav Gilad's 2008 panoramic view of the harbor entrance shows no trace of the range lights.) Findlay's 1879 light list gives 1862 as the date of the first lighthouse. Huelse has a historic postcard
view of the 1875 Jaffa lighthouse, which was built by French engineers for the Ottoman Empire. Jaffa (now called Yafo)
is the historic port associated with Jerusalem. The ancient city
is now a district within the much larger modern city of Tel Aviv,
and in 1966 port operations were relocated to Ashdod. The old harbor now serves only small craft.
Located on the historic Jaffa waterfront. Site open, tower closed.
ARLHS ISR-005; Admiralty N5962.5 (?); NGA 113-21258 (?).
- * Tel Aviv (Reading, Tel Kudadi, Hayarkon,
- 1935. Inactive since 1965. Approx. 17 m (56 ft) square cylindrical
concrete tower, mounted on a round stone foundation.
Lighthouse painted white with four black panels mounted or painted on each face. Wikimedia has an excellent 2013 photo,
Dorfman has several 2009 photos,
another good photo is
available, and Google has a street view and an indistinct satellite
view. Built by British authorities, this lighthouse
stands on the north side of the entrance to the HaYarkon (Yarkon) River
in the area of Tel Kudadi, a stronghold from the Biblical period of Israel's
history. The modern harbor of the Reading Power Plant is just to the north. The lighthouse
was apparently restored sometime in 2011-12, and it may have been reactivated, although it has not been added to international light lists. The black panels on the tower recall the historic black and white checkerboard daymark pattern. The boardwalk seen in the recent photos was built in 2007 as part of a larger project
to clean up the river and make it accessible to the public. Located on
the beach near the foot of the Tel Aviv South Breakwater. Site open,
tower closed. ex-Admiralty E5958.
- * [Herzliya Marina]
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); green flash every 5 s.
11 m (36 ft) white concrete post with gallery. Wikimedia has David
and Google has an indistinct satellite
view. Located at the end of the main breakwater of the marina at Herzliya,
north of Yafo. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed.
Admiralty E5957; NGA 113-21238.
Yafo (Jaffa) Light, Yafo, October 2006
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo
by Remi Jouan
Central District Lighthouse
- * Mikhmoret (Michmoret)
- Date unknown (1960s?). Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); two flashes, one
white and one red, every 15 s. Light mounted on the roof of a 1-story concrete
building supported by concrete piles. The building is painted dark blue with
white trim. The building is part of the Mevo'ot Yam Nautical School. Dorfman
has a closeup
photo, another photo
is available, and Google has an indistinct satellite
view. Located on the north side of the harbor in Mikhmoret, about 7 km
(4.5 mi) north of Netanya. ARLHS ISR-006; Admiralty N5956; NGA 113-21236.
Haifa District Lighthouses
- * Har Carmel (Mount Carmel, Stella
- 1928 (station established 1864). Active; focal plane
179 m (587 ft); white flash every 5 s. 20 m (66 ft) octagonal cylindrical
tower with lantern and gallery rising from the seaward end of a 3-story
building. The building is painted a light buff color; the lantern
is painted with red and white vertical stripes, but the dome is black.
This powerful light has a range of 55 km (35 mi). Dorfman's photo
is at right, Trabas has a photo,
another closeup photo
Huelse has a postcard
view of the 1864 lighthouse, and Google has an indistinct
view. Mount Carmel is one of the most prominent landmarks along
the Israeli coast, rising southeast of the seaport of Haifa. The lighthouse
is often called the Stella Maris lighthouse because it is near the
Carmelite Monastery of Stella Maris (Star of the Sea). Arne Berge
has a view
of the lighthouse and the monastery. The lighthouse building is in
use by the Israeli military and is closed to the public. The earlier
history of this light station is complex, and there is evidence of
lights at several locations on the mountain at different times. The Fresnel lens of the lighthouse is on display at the Israel National Maritime Museum in Haifa. Located
on the seaward face of Har (Mount) Carmel about 1.5 km (1 mi) east
of Haifa. Site and tower closed, but the building can be viewed from
nearby. ARLHS ISR-004; Admiralty N5945; NGA 113-21212.
- Haifa Breakwater Middle
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. Light mounted on a post atop a tapered square white concrete tower. The light is to the left of the MS Queen Victoria in Avi Kogan's photo and above right of the USS The Sullivans in a 2007 photo, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. This light was formerly at the end of the main breakwater of Haifa harbor, but the breakwater has been extended (a post light marks its new end). Site status unknown. Admiralty N5946.05; NGA
Har Carmel (Stella Maris) Light, Haifa, July
photo copyright Danny Dorfman; used by permission
- Haifa Breakwater Elbow
- Date unknown. Apparently inactive, but listed by NGA with focal plane 11 m (36 ft); white light, 2.5 s on, 2.5 s off. The light was mounted on a post atop a tapered square white concrete tower, but no light is seen in a 2008 photo. Bing has a satellite view. Located in a curve (not really an elbow) of the main breakwater of Haifa harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty N5946.1; NGA
- Haifa Lee Breakwater (2)
- 2007(?). Active; focal plane unknown; red flash every 3 s. Approx.
25 m (82 ft) triangular skeletal radar tower standing behind a 2-story concrete
harbor control building. Jeremy Sham has a good view, the tower is seen at the right of a 2007 photo of the harbor and at the left in a 2009 photo, and Google has a satellite view. Trabas has a photo showing much older buildings, including a square concrete harbor control tower
that formerly carried the light. The lee breakwater has been completely redeveloped
as a containership terminal. Located at the end of the quay serving as the
inner breakwater of Haifa harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty N5947; NGA
Northern District Lighthouse
- * Akko
- 1912 (station established 1864). Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); two white
flashes every 7 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern,
gallery, and four ribs. Lighthouse painted in a black and white checkerboard
pattern; lantern dome is gray metallic. A small 1-story equipment building,
painted white, stands next to the tower. A photo is at the top of this page,
Dorfman has a good 2009 photo,
Trabas has a photo,
Q.T. Luong has a photo
of the seawall and light station, and Google has a street view and a satellite
view. This is the only Israeli lighthouse surviving from the Ottoman era. The lighthouse is built atop the city's ancient walls on the site of an Ottoman watch tower.
The ancient city of Acre, now called Akko, is built at the north entrance
to the Bay of Haifa, on a hook-shaped peninsula that shelters a small harbor.
The lighthouse is located on the seaward face of the peninsula. Site open
(the lighthouse is fenced but can be viewed from outside the fence.) Tower
closed. ARLHS ISR-003; Admiralty N5944; NGA 113-21204.
Information available on lost lighthouses:
Notable faux lighthouses:
- Caesarea Maritima. Although Wikimedia has filed this photo under Lighthouses, it is clearly a minaret. Caesarea became the capital of Roma Judaea in 70 CE and continued as the capital of the region through the Byzantine and early Moslem periods. The ruins of the city are preserved as an Israeli national park.
Prison. This tower on the old Jaffa Prison is sometimes described
as a lighthouse, although it must have been used originally as a minaret.
At night, it shows a green
light from neon tubes. It is doubtful that this light has any navigational
value (and being on the port side of the harbor entrance it would be
red if it were an official light).
Adjoining pages: North: Lebanon | East: Jordan |
South: Egypt Red Sea | West: Egypt Mediterranean Sea
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Posted June 4, 2007. Checked and revised May 30, 2014.
Lighthouses: 12. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.