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Israelis told to stay away from beaches due to health fears over oil spill by SUE SURKES February 22,2021   |  Source: The Times of Israel

The government on Sunday advised Israelis to avoid all Mediterranean beaches from north to south due to pollution from a tar spill that has reached the coastline.

The warning came following a massive oil spill off the coast, which is suspected to have resulted in the death of many sea creatures, including a whale whose body washed up to the Israeli shore on Thursday. Some officials have called it the worst environmental disaster to hit Israel for years.

A joint advisory issued by the Health, Interior and Environmental Protection ministry called on the public “not to go [to the beaches] to swim, or do sports or leisure activity until further notice.”

“Exposure to tar could harm public health,” the advisory read.

Several thousand people came to beaches along the Mediterranean coast on Saturday to help with the cleanup of the spill but a number were hospitalized after apparently inhaling toxic fumes.

As a result, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority told volunteers to go through a registration and safety training process.

The cause of the pollution — involving dozens of tons of tar spilled at sea — was not definitively clear and was under investigation.

Parks Authority head Shaul Goldstein on Saturday called it Israel’s “worst environmental


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