Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan announced on Thursday night that
he was launching a criminal investigation into the mysterious chlorine-like
stench experienced by residents of the Tel Aviv region during the day.
of Thursday night, however, the ministry still had yet to uncover the source of
the foul smell.
Early that afternoon, the Environmental Protection
Ministry reported that its staff members had been taking measurements all over
the region, and while they had not yet identified the source, they found that it
was not hazardous to public health.
Measurements continued throughout the
day, and by 5 p.m., the office said that complaints of odors had ceased, but
that tests would continue until inspectors could identify the source of the odor
with 100-percent certainty.
After people began reporting pungent odors in
their areas, a number of media outlets initially wrote that the source of the
smell was gas drilling in Nitzanim, citing information the Home Front Command
provided to the local authorities.
However, a spokesman from the
Environmental Protection Ministry denied these allegations, telling The
Jerusalem Post, “We are not dealing with rumors. There is no gas drilling in
Nitzanim – the army is just saying that.”
As of the early evening, the
ministry said that the tests already carried out determined that the odors were
not from a soil disinfection process at the Kfar Hayarok agricultural
school/youth village in southern Ramat Hasharon.
Whatever the source of
the problem might be, MK Dov Henin (Hadash), chairman of the Knesset Joint
Environment and Health Committee, demanded in the mid-afternoon that the relevant authorities clarify the source
of the smell and take the steps necessary to protect the public
“This is further proof that we must behave in a very
meticulous and careful manner regarding environmental issues [and] approving
activities that are liable to endanger the environment and public health,” Henin
“Along these lines, I say with regret that, instead of going in
this direction, the government is going in the opposite direction and promotes a
green route that is lenient on gas and oil drilling in the sea and on beaches.”