Island appears in the Sea of Galilee

The land of Israel is undergoing one of its periodic droughts, to the point that an island has appeared in the receding Sea of Galilee.


The newly revealed island near the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee (Credit: Yuval Gassar)

The Sea of Galilee water level frequently drops during the dry summer months and rises with the rainy season in late fall and winter, so the island will almost certainly be covered again by November or December at the latest. Its surprise appearance shows the intensity of the current drought in Israel.

As a recent article in Haaretz states, “The situation is dimmer than it was [during a previous drought] in 2001. At that time water was pumped out of the lake into the national water system, but that has almost completely stopped. Israeli Water Authority spokesman Uri Shor warns, “The levels are low despite the almost complete cessation of pumping water out. If we were taking water out, the level would drop below the black line and the lake would be finished.” (The black line is the estimated minimum level to prevent ecological damage.)

Israel’s growing population has put strains on the region’s limited water sources. The construction of several expensive desalination plants to convert seawater into potable water has decreased reliance on natural freshwater sources such as the Sea of Galilee. Hopefully the drought will break soon and avoid any permanent impact to the lake’s ecosystem.

Read the Haaretz article for more photos and details, including a flyover drone video. (Possibility of a paywall)


A view of the newly revealed Galilee island from the southern shore. (Credit: Gil Eliyahu)



About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister with the North Terrace Church of Christ and has participated in multiple archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke leads informative, meaningful tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
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7 Responses to Island appears in the Sea of Galilee

  1. EstateCo says:

    Luke, great article. No mention of how much water Israel gives to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (see Doesn’t take-away from your brilliant coverage.

  2. Outremer says:

    Luke– Very Interesting. This is a new one on me! The Haaretz sub-head says the island has appeared before, several years ago, but I did not venture behind the paywall to find out when that was. (I remember in 1986 when the “Galilee Boat” was extracted from the exposed lake-bed near Kibbutz Ginnosar– I was there just a month or two later and saw the boat immersed in an outdoor tank near the lake shore…) A related Haaretz article says there’s a plan afoot to pump water into the lake from the Lower Galilee region– that would be a first, I believe. Anyway, maybe someone will go do an archaeological survey of the little island before it disappears!
    TOM POWERS / Waynesville, NC

    • LukeChandler says:

      Hi Tom, I was able to initially get past the paywall with a Google search for the article, though not anymore. I recall the article suggesting the island has not been seen for thousands of years, though I am not curious enough on that detail to purchase a subscription. Maybe it will begin appearing more often until they find a way to stabilize water levels. Getting quite creative with proposed water solutions, aren’t they? Great to hear from you.

  3. Wayne Stiles says:

    Thanks for this, Luke. We need to name the island!

  4. Wow! What a drought! Thanks for the photos and the post!

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