Senior officials of the Environmental Protection Ministry said on Tuesday that major efforts were being made to control the damage caused by an oil spill along the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and an entourage of high government officialdom visited on Tuesday the site of one of the worst environmental diasters in the country’s history.
Environmental Protection Ministry Southern District Director Guy Samet briefed them on the current situation, saying that there was no danger to the health of local residents and that the defenses that have been built near the site of the breach along the route of the anticipated flow, including dams and absorbent measures, have prevented contamination from spreading beyond the nature reserve.
Inter-ministerial efforts were already under way, he said, to deal with the spill. The efforts were being made — in conjunction with the Nature and Parks Authority, the Fire and Rescue Service, the Israel Police and Eilat and Aravah Drainage Authority — to repair the existing damage and remove contaminated soil.
Accompanying the prime minister was newly appointed Deputy Minister for Environmental Protection Ofir Akunis (Likud), who has been given the responsibility for overseeing the work.
Akunis promised to “to be here until we know for sure that all the dangers have passed and we will sit very soon and consider a series of recommendations that will be submitted to the Cabinet so that such events do not recur — this is very important; they must not recur — and in order to do whatever is necessary in the wake of this leak.”