An Israeli island… in Finland


A group of Israeli businessmen has bought a Finnish island and plans turn it into an idyllic getaway for Israelis.

Building will start next year on the 42-acre Petajasaari, an island in central Finland which is thought never to have been inhabited. The entrepreneurs bought it from a church, and plan to market it heavily in Israel.

Once homes are ready, they are expected to be mainly inhabited by Israelis who want them as second homes - though they will be on offer to all buyers. There will be a synagogue, and the most spoken language will almost inevitably be Hebrew.

"Even the Finnish people don't know the potential of the islands here," said Amir Weil, one of the businessmen behind the developer, the Israeli Ecoland Group.

He said that Finland will be an attractive proposition for Israelis, adding: "We have been looking for a country where there aren't many real estate entrepreneurs, that is in Europe and not far from Israel, and somewhere quiet with a low crime rate."

There will be 30 cabin-style homes which include the plot of land they stand on and range in cost from £80,000 to £100,000.

A £1,400-a-year service charge will be levied to maintain communal facilities including saunas, a jacuzzi and a clubhouse, and to employ staff to oversee the homes when they are not inhabited.

The company plans to maintain the natural feel of the island, without building significant transport infrastructure and without using heavy machines for construction.

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