Fishermen Plan Class-Action Suit Over Oil Spill on Israel’s Shores

Israeli soldiers clean tar from the sand after an offshore oil spill drenched much of Israel’s Mediterranean shoreline, at a beach in Atlit, Feb. 22. (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Several fishermen and boat owners have filed a class-action suit against the government over the massive oil spill that stained Israel’s shores earlier this year, Yisrael Hayom learned earlier this week.

February’s oil spill affected Israel’s coastline from north to south and has been labeled the country’s worst natural disaster in decades.

Black strips of oil stretched across 160 kilometers (90 miles) of the country’s Mediterranean coastline from Haifa in the north to Ashkelon in the south.

At Gador Nature Reserve near the northern city of Chadera, fish, turtles and other sea creatures were found covered in tar.

Environmental experts said the incident took a devastating toll on the shore’s ecosystem.

The class-action suit, which is pending the Tel Aviv District Court’s approval, asserts that “longtime neglect and prioritizing business interests led to this disaster, which was entirely avoidable.”

According to the lawsuit, many ship owners and fishermen have completely lost their livelihoods as a result of the spill.

The plaintiffs estimate that fishermen operating along the coast have suffered 7.5 million shekels ($2.4 million) in damages, while the damage to the ship owners amounts to about NIS 18 million ($5.8 million).

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