Twenty-six people drowned in Israel during the 2012 bathing season, which came
to a close earlier this week, the Interior Ministry reported.
ministry said the figures represent an 18 percent drop from last year, when 33
people drowned, and an even greater drop since 2010, when 38 people lost their
Altogether, between 2000 and 2009, an average of 45 people died
annually, the ministry reported. It said in a press released on Tuesday that the
drop in drowning deaths is because of greater enforcement of safety regulations
and the ministry’s PR campaigns, including ads with the tag line “if there is no
lifeguard never enter the water!” According to the ministry, 80% of the
drownings took place in areas where swimming was forbidden, where there was no
lifeguard on staff, or after bathing hours. It added that in two of the cases
the person who drowned had suffered a heart attack before or during the
incident; in one the victim had an epileptic seizure, and in another at the Dead
Sea, the victim swallowed a large amount of salty, brackish water before
Of those who drowned, 80% were men, 69% were Jewish, 19% Arab, 8%
tourists, and 4% were anonymous.
The ministry added that 69% of the
drownings took place off the Mediterranean coast, 19% in the Sea of Galilee, 8%
at the Dead Sea, and 4% in Eilat. Minors made up 20% of the fatalities, while
adults between 19 and 45 comprised 30%.