Jerusalem pool 311.
(photo credit: Liat Collins)
Alice Miller turned to the High Court of Justice again on Monday.
Sixteen years ago she petitioned the court as a young aeronautics officer demanding the right to take the tests to become an Israel Air Force pilot. That decision paved the way for female aviators in the IAF, although South African-born Miller did not pass the medical tests.
This time, Miller is taking on the Health Ministry, which she and her fellow petitioners say refuses to even consider granting them approval for a public ecological swimming pool – one that eschews chlorine and its derivatives (including salt) in favor of natural water treatment processes such as constructed wetlands.
In her petition, filed on Monday, Miller and her fellow kibbutzniks from Hukok just northwest of Lake Kinneret, say that Health Ministry regulations maintain that a public pool must be sterilized by chlorine or its derivatives. Furthermore, according to the petition filed by lawyers from Gisin & Partners, the ministry refuses to consider either granting them permission to receive a business license to operate the public pool or to draft regulations for ecological pools.
Citing the growing environmental trend worldwide, Miller’s lawyers Yoel Freilich and Oren Bailer explain that Hukok is an ecological kibbutz and the ecological pool fits in with their lifestyles. That lifestyle is becoming more prevalent in Israel, according to the petition, and the Health Ministry is blocking a way of life.
Chlorine or ammonia used to be the only technology available to sanitize
pools, they wrote, but alternatives have arisen and people are becoming
concerned about its use. When it was the only choice, Health Ministry
regulations naturally mandated its use. However, now that there are
equally effective alternatives, those should be permissible as well,
they argued. The petitioners also stated that ecological swimming pools
are in use around the world and have been for awhile, particularly in
In Israel, private ecological swimming pools have been built but no
The Health Ministry said it would respond to the petition in court.