AT LEAST eight types of Jellyfish populate Israeli waters, most of which don’t sting.
(photo credit: ZAFRIR KUPLIK)
"Jellyfish have been around for a very long time. But only recently have their numbers started to grow,” says Dr. Dror Angel, a marine ecologist who does research and teaches at the University of Haifa. He also operates the website meduzot.co.il. “These days, we can see jellyfish in the sea off the coast from Ashkelon all the way up to Rosh Hanikra. People are afraid of them, as if they were sharks. One of our goals is to educate people and replace this negative image with a more positive one.”More than one million users have browsed on Angel’s website to check if there were jellyfish in the sea before deciding whether to go the beach or stay home. “Our site offers real-time information, just like Waze,” he says with a smile. “Our community of users is constantly updating the site, so we can always know which beaches are currently inundated with jellyfish. People think they are actively being stung, but actually the jellyfish are completely passive. When people come in contact with their tentacles, which are covered with stinging cells, they get stung, even though the jellyfish are not trying to hurt us on purpose. My aim is to improve the jellyfish’s image by offering information.