(photo credit: INIMAGE)
Jacky Levy, who holds the 18th spot on the Likud’s Knesset electoral list, has been indicted for environmental infractions during his decade as mayor of Beit She’an.
The State Attorney’s Office filed the indictment to the Nazareth Magistrate Court on Sunday, with two charges against Levy, who served as mayor of the northeastern city from 2002 through 2013. The first charge relates to the continuous neglect of municipal sewage facilities, causing raw sewage to flow into Nahal Harod and the Lower Jordan River, while the second charge deals with the handling of garbage in the city.
Although submitted by the State Attorney’s Office, the indictment was based on a case researched by the Environmental Protection Ministry’s Green Police.
Also included in the indictment were the municipality of Beit She’an as well as Yehezkel Hariv, who served as Levy’s deputy and chairman of the Beit She’an environmental committee and Goel Yisraeli, who served from 2005 on as assistant to the city’s director-general and afterwards as acting director-general – which governed the city’s department for environmental quality. The head of this department, Alice Nahum, was likewise included in the indictment.
“The Environmental Protection Ministry is strongly opposed to a situation in which local authorities do not regulate their water and waste sectors and act with indifference to environmental hazards, when at the end of the day those who are hurt from the lack of regulation and inadequate conduct are the residents themselves,” a statement from the Environmental Protection Ministry said.
With regards to the first charge, the ministry said that the continuous inattention to the city’s sewage treatment facilities “caused severe environmental and sanitary contamination over an extended period.”
As far as the waste charge is concerned, the ministry explained that the municipality displayed negligence in its handling of both dry garbage and industrial solid waste, which includes trash generated in large production volumes such as building or scrapping remnants. Several fires broke out at various points in time at municipal landfills, causing high levels of pollution and unreasonable odor hazards, the ministry explained. Also among the infringements described in this charge was “the soiling of public domain.”
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In response, a spokesman for the municipality stressed that the indictment in question was filed for offenses that occurred during the tenure of the former mayor and his deputy, and does not apply to the current period.
“The argument against them is regarding violations in the environmental sector of the illegal management of a waste transfer station, while causing a lot of hazards and the flow of raw sewage of Nahal Harod,” a statement said.
“Shortly after the current mayor took office, the municipality of Beit She’an stopped the violations committed during the tenure of Jacky Levy and implemented extensive steps to eliminate the many waste hazards that caused odor nuisances and air pollution, and stopped the discharge of effluents into Nahal Harod,” it continued. “Since then, the municipality of Beit She’an is operating according to the law and recently received an award for being a green municipality, for its diverse environmental activities in addition to those mentioned.”
By the time of publication, it remained unclear whether the indictment would have any effect on Levy’s standing in the Likud list.
Levy is the son of former foreign minister David Levy and the brother of Yisrael Beytenu MK Orly Levy-Abecassis.
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