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Fox News
Fox News
22 Jul 2023


An Israeli man who spent half a century carving out his home into a cave on a Mediterranean beach now faces eviction – and refuses to budge from his lifetime achievement. 

"I really love the sea," Nissim Kahlon told the Tazpit Press Service (TPS). "I don’t have money to buy a home."

"I am not leaving here. I am ready for them to bury me here," Kahlon added. "I have nowhere to go, I have no other home."

Kahlon, 77, faces eviction as Israeli authorities, including the Israel Land Authority and the Environmental Protection Ministry have deemed his home dangerous for the coastline and illegal for habitation. He told the Associated Press that the authorities are "denigrating" him. 

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In a statement to TPS, the Environmental Protection Ministry called the house "a significant environmental, and security, hazard, according to professional reviews on behalf of the Herzliya Municipality, which is subordinate to the ministry."

Nissim Kahlon eviction

Nissim Kahlon cleans some dishes in the kitchen he built in his cliffside home. (Tazpit Press Service )

"In the reviews that the Herzliya Municipality have released throughout the years it seems that the building is dangerous, and that the cliff is falling apart," the statement added. "The municipality even informed the ministry that they have alternative accommodational solutions."

Environment ministry eviction

Nissim Kahlon's home, chiseled out of the sandstone cliffs, overlooks the Mediterranean Sea in Herzliya, Israel, Wednesday, June 28, 2023.   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Kahlon admitted that he had received a demolition order in 1974, just after he had started building his home, but no one carried it out, and he never heard any further issue from authorities until last year. 

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The notice is on hold until he finishes his appeal, which he has initiated with support from friends and family who have started crowdfunding to cover his legal expenses. 

Israeli eviction controversy

A view of the Mediterranean Sea, which Kahlon's home overlooks on Herzliya Beach. (Tazpit Press Service )

Kahlon was living in a tent along the Herzliya beach in 1973 when he started digging into the sandstone cliffs and creating a cave. He added to the simple cave over time, adding more rooms and filling it with material he gathered from the beach and dumpsters around Tel Aviv. 

Sandstone isreal beach home

Nissim Kahlon, 77, started building his home in 1973 when he carved out a tiny cave in the sandstone.  (Tazpit Press Service )

The home has no telephone or internet connection, and people can only reach Kahlon by visiting personally or reaching out to a social worker who knows him. 

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"From the stones I quarry, I make a cast and build a wall. There’s no waste here, only material, that’s the logic," Kahlon explained. "Everything is useful, there’s no trash."

Kahlon acknowledged that he built the home without any permits, and he had to shut down a restaurant he tried to open because of city hall opposition, but he argues that officials tacitly approved of his home when they connected his home to the electric grid decades ago. 

But the EPM has raised concerns in light of explosions at an abandoned facility in the 1990s that damaged the integrity of the cliffs, which have only continued to deteriorate in the intervening years. Another explosion last month compounded the damage. 

The ministry also said Kahlon had caused "significant damage to the cliff, endangered the public and reduced the beach for public passage" over the past 50 years. It says the recent explosion only increases the potential risk to the cliff.

The Herzliya municipality and EPM have continued to argue over who has the responsibility to deal with the condition of the area, with the EPM ultimately taking the charge to issue the eviction notice, while the Herzliya municipality allegedly found alternative housing for Kahlon, which he does not appear keen to take up. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Peter Aitken is a Fox News Digital reporter with a focus on national and global news.