The managers of the area in North Tel Aviv reached an arrangement with the Israeli Government, whereby they will be compensated for the delay in evacuating Sde Dov. The summary is still open for discussion and some of the landowners oppose this agreement

04.03.20 | Amitai Gazit

Managers of the Gush Hagadol at Sde Dov in North Tel Aviv are demanding compensation of NIS 356 million from the Government, as is indicated in the agreement that they signed with the Government and which was disclosed to Calcalist.

They are demanding this compensation pursuant to the Sde Dov Law that was legislated in March 2017, and which set expropriation compensation for the landowners due to the 2.5-year delay in evacuating the airport. The prediction is that if the Government offers less than NIS 356 million, the managers of the Gush Hagadol will file an appeal.

According to the arrangement signed between the Government and the managers of the Gush Hagadol, and which was submitted for authorization of the Herzliya Magistrates Court, the Government will pay expropriation compensation due to a delay in the evacuation; however, a final decision regarding the size of the compensation has yet to be reached and the Government will be required to submit its position regarding the size of the compensation to the managers of the Gush Hagadol. The Sde Dov Law determines that if there is a dispute regarding the size of compensation, it will be resolved by an appeals committee at the Tel Aviv District Committee. The assessment of the value will be conducted by appraisers Shaul Eisenberg and Yossi Barak.

The Gush Hagadol, with its 1,624 registered landowners, spans an area of 1,000 dunams in North Tel Aviv. The Dov Hoz Airport was operated in the western section, spanning 500 dunams. The plan for Sde Dov promoted by the Government will allow the construction of 16 thousand apartments, a third of which belong to the Gush Hagadol.

In 2012, the Government decision was reached to evacuate the airport in June of 2016; however, following an appeal by Arkia, the evacuation was delayed to April 2017. As the date of the evacuation approached, and due to the pressure applied by Arkia and the Eilat Municipality, the Knesset quickly legislated the Sde Dov Law, which allowed the civilian airport to continue to operate as long as the flights to and from the adjacent military base that operated from the same runway continued to operate. In the end, Sde Dov was closed in July 2019.

A year ago, the managers of the Gush Hagadol submitted the Government a demand for fees for the use of the land totaling NIS 1 billion, for its use since 2000 (and not only from 2017). The arrangement does not mention that this suit is cancelled, such that the managers of the Gush Hagadol could also demand this sum in the future. However, the chances that they will succeed with this suit are not large because in 2007, the Government and the Gush Hagadol forfeited the suits filed by both sides. On the other hand, the right to sue for expropriation compensation is explicitly mentioned in the Sde Dov Law that was legislated in 2017.

Due to the many landowners and the undertaking of the Gush Hagadol manager to transfer 50% of their rights to the Government, up until now, the rights to the land are listed in the Government’s name in trust. The 1,624 landowners are not registered in the Land Registry (Tabu), rather they are registered in the internal system operated by the Gush Hagadol managers. Based on the new arrangement with the managers, the Government’s rights will now be registered in the Tabu in an organized manner. The rights of the individuals will continue to be held in trust and will still be run by the managers of the Gush Hagadol.

Adv. Miri Donin, who represents the Sde Dov landowners, filed an objection to this arrangement, claiming that “it includes a wall-to-wall concession of the managers in the name of the landowners, while on the other hand, “in exchange for this wide scale concession, the managers will receive nothing from the Government.”

Donin objects to the fact that the managers have hurried to transfer the rights to the Government, while there are still issues in contention, where the main issue is the 300 apartments in the TA 3700 Plan that applies to the area north of Sde Dov.

Donin is also demanding that the trust mechanism be cancelled and the rights of the 1,624 individuals be registered in the Tabu, just as the Government’s rights have been. She claims that the management of the rights is currently very clumsy and expensive. Moreover, she opposes what she claims to be a waiver of the usage fees from the year 2000, and settling for the NIS 356 million: “The managers’ position is unclear with regard to the demand for usage fees for the first period (from 2000 to 2017, A.G.). As part of the arrangement, have they forfeited their demand for NIS 650 million? Needless to say, if there is such a concession, it must be explicitly executed.”