Herzliya's surfers are complaining of being persecuted after being hit with a wave of fines for presenting a danger to swimmers - in this case, themselves, reports www.local.co.il. City councilor and Greens faction leader Dror Ezra even complained to Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat last week about the fines, saying he could not understand how the city could classify one of Israel's most popular sports as dangerous.
According to the report, Ezra said he had received numerous reports recently that municipal inspectors, accompanied by police, were invading Hasirot Beach, south of the marina, and issuing surfers with fines of NIS 430 each under local laws that prohibit presenting a danger to swimmers. Surfers believe that Hasirot Beach has the best conditions for surfing in the Herzliya area.
"It has to be wondered how a city in Israel can categorize one of the most popular branches of sport in Israel as a hazard and a danger to the public," Ezra wrote. "In many other places in the world, including third-world countries, the sport of surfing receives promotion and investment. In contrast to virtually every other city in the world and even in Israel, the city of Herzliya is depressing the sport and persecuting surfers."
Ezra added that at the same time that the city was chasing surfers away from Hof Hasirot, it was allowing genuine "bullies" to carry on unhindered there, with motorized vehicles running amok on the sand and with jet-skis breaching sailing laws. He asked Livnat to intervene directly in the matter.
A municipal spokesman responded that surfers were "not above the law" and that a group of them had endangered their own lives and those of boat-owners at Hof Hasirot. The spokesman said the beach was off-limits to swimmers and was designed for the use of boats, and it was for this reason that the city had begun enforcing the law and the surfers had been fined. No comment was reported from the minister.
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