Part of 2,000-year-old Caesarea aqueduct collapsed last month

Local officials say Acre historical aqueduct is crumbling, but government won’t fix

Mateh Asher Regional Council reportedly searched for an official agency that would take responsibility for engineering project, but none was willing

Screen capture from video of the water aqueduct leading to Acre, August, 2023. (YouTube. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screen capture from video of the water aqueduct leading to Acre, August, 2023. (YouTube. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A regional council has raised the alert that a historical water aqueduct leading to the port city of Acre is in danger of collapse, yet no official body has stepped forward to repair it.

The Mateh Asher Regional Council said in a statement, “We expect the assistance of all possible parties to preserve this gem of important history,” Channel 12 reported Tuesday.

The council, which covers the area where the aqueduct is located, sought out state entities that might assist in preserving the structure but were unable to secure support, the report said.

A source familiar with the matter said the council contacted many different bodies but they each either claimed to not have the funding for the work, or said that it was not their responsibility.

The unnamed source pointed a finger at the Israel Land Authority, saying that though it is “entrusted with the territory,” officials “choose to close their eyes while this rare place is slowly disappearing from our landscape.”

“The aqueduct is a structure of historical and cultural importance that must be maintained and preserved,” the council said in a statement.

Yuval Hadar, a resident of the Ghetto Fighters Kibbutz and a member of the Meta Asher regional council forum told the network the aqueduct “could collapse at any moment and it is very dangerous.”

He warned that a collapse could harm any passersby.

“All over the world, beautiful sites are preserved, but here, on the other hand, everything is completely neglected and things are allowed to be destroyed and disappear,” Hadar said. “We don’t have many sites of this scale in Israel and we must not let it simply collapse, but no one cares.”

The 15-kilometer-long aqueduct was built in 1814 by the Ottomans and provided water to Acre for 133 years until it was damaged during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.

Last month, part of a 2,000-year-old aqueduct in the coastal city of Caesarea collapsed on a popular beach, but without causing injury.

The Israel Antiquities Authority responded by issuing accusations against the bodies responsible for the beach for ignoring repeated warnings and appeals to take care of the structure.

At the time, Ami Shahar, head of the IAA’s Conservation Department, raised the alarm over the Acre aqueduct.

“At this point, we feel we must inform the public that Acre’s 15-kilometer-long aqueduct is in an even more precarious state and faces collapse,” he said. “The engineering situation there is critical, and requires immediate attention.”

Though the organization did not say so explicitly, the comments suggested that in that case, too, the IAA has not found a willing partner in the relevant authorities.

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