Israel Hunting Down Those Responsible for Maritime Disaster

Court issues gag order on details as government narrows in on whoever polluted Israel’s Mediterranean coast

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Environment
Photo: Dr. Yaniv Levy / Israel Parks Authority

In the photo: Marine biologists clean tar off of a sea turtle found on Israel’s polluted shores.

Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection is searching for those responsible for what’s being called the Jewish state’s worst ecological disaster in over a decade.

Over the weekend Israel’s entire Mediterranean coast was polluted when tons of tar washed ashore. Experts warned that it would take months and possibly even years for marine wildlife and Israel’s beaches to fully recover.

Minister of Environmental Protection Gila Gamliel issued a statement insisting that Israel’s “maritime environment and our health are not a dumping ground! The pollution that damaged our beaches and environment is the result of negligence and irresponsible behavior. We will spare no effort to locate the person or persons responsible.”

Gamliel said that Israel is working with European authorities to identify the source of the pollutant. The leading theory is that one of 10 ships that passed through an area some 50 kilometers off the coast of Israel a week ago dumped either oil or ship fuel into the water. High winds then blew the spill toward Israel and distributed it along the entire coastline.

Monday’s court gag order raised suspicions that Israel was getting close to identifying those responsible and wanted to keep details out of the media until a decision could be made on legal action or other necessary responses.

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