yoel hasson 88 224.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Owners of bed-and-breakfast guest houses (tzimmerim) complained to the Knesset
State Control Committee on Wednesday that strict Health Ministry regulations
regarding swimming pool facilities are forcing them to close them down, hurting
The owners, most of them from the North, told committee chairman
MK Yoel Hasson that the strict regulations were relevant to large pools with
masses of bathers, while those in tzimmerim were small – no more than 50 or 60
cubic meters – and had only a small number of bathers at a time.
who has already discussed the matter with Health and Interior ministry
officials, said guests were vital to the economy and to the income of owners.
Tzimmerim bring in NIS 1 billion in direct income and NIS 2.5b. more in indirect
income a year.
Shmuel Golan, deputy director-general of the State
Comptroller’s Office, stressed that a business license for guestrooms was vital
to ensure the safety of customers, as many were made of wood so fire
extinguishing equipment was needed, and food preparation had to be
“Some of the regional councils didn’t even know about dozens
of pools operating in their area,” he said.
Ya’acov Rosenwasser, a
representative of some 500 guest house owners, said the “regulations turn us
into criminals. They require that our pools have a security man at the entrance,
a receptacle for suspicious objects, a cabinet for keeping personal property,
lockers, resuscitation equipment and a lifeguard.
Pools are closed down
if they don’t meet these standards,” he said, even though they are relevant for
large public pools – but municipal and kibbutz pools get five years to make
The owners’ lawyer, Avital Horef, said B&Bs with three
units or more, each with at least three rooms and 40 square meters in size, were
required to have business licenses, but there was no definition for private
The Health Ministry’s environmental health supervisor, Zeev Fisch,
said it was not true that large and small pools must meet the same
Pools of up to 15 cubic meters were called “small,” but most
guest houses’ pools were several times larger. The strict regulations, Fisch
said, were to prevent poisonings, diseases, parasites and the transfer of
disease. Israel’s pools were among the most advanced and healthy in the world
because of the standards, he said.
Hasson suggested the ministry change
its regulations and classify them according to how many and how often people
used them and not according to size, but the ministry said this was variable and
could not be supervised.
He summed up by saying he agreed that health
standards should be enforced but “the owners should be helped. Find the right
balance, and don’t ignore reality.”
He asked the Health, Tourism and
Interior ministries to reach a compromise within two months.