European ambassadors help clean Israel's shoreline following oil spill

“As soon as we saw the terrible images of black tar washed up on beaches along the coastline, we decided that we had to do something to help," said EU Ambassador Emanuele Giaufret.

EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret was joined by more than two dozen envoys from EU member states, including 10 ambassadors, at a large-scale beach clean-up operation at the Beit Yanai National Park near Netanya, Friday, March 5, 2021. (photo credit: ELI DASSA)
EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret was joined by more than two dozen envoys from EU member states, including 10 ambassadors, at a large-scale beach clean-up operation at the Beit Yanai National Park near Netanya, Friday, March 5, 2021.
(photo credit: ELI DASSA)
Following the environmental disaster that saw large parts of Israel's shorelines contaminated by unprecedented amounts of tar washed up from the sea, the European Union (EU) has joined the effort to clean the country's beaches.
EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret and several ambassadors from EU member states spent more than an hour on Friday cleaning the Beit Yanai beach in central Israel and removing tar from stones across its coastline.
The initiative was the result of a collaboration between the EU delegation in Tel Aviv and the Zalul environmental organization, which has been leading the nationwide efforts to clean Israel's beaches following the disastrous oil spill that carried tons of tar to approximately 160 km. out of the 190 km. of Israel’s Mediterranean coast.
“As soon as we saw the terrible images of black tar washed up on beaches along the coastline, we decided that we had to do something to help," said Giaufret, noting that while EU delegations organize beach cleanups every year, "this disaster [called] for immediate action.”
Giaufret added that there is still a lot of work to do, "but every effort helps. We’re grateful to our partners from Zalul for the important work they’re doing.”

Clad in blue EU t-shirts and wearing plastic bags on their shoes, the diplomats spent more than an hour removing tar from stones along the coastline. (Credit: Eli Dassa)Clad in blue EU t-shirts and wearing plastic bags on their shoes, the diplomats spent more than an hour removing tar from stones along the coastline. (Credit: Eli Dassa)
The diplomats were greeted by Galit Shaul, head of the Emek Hefer Regional Council, where the Beit Yanai National Park is located, and by a group of Zalul volunteers.
“The massive tar contamination in our beaches is one of the most severe ecological disasters we have ever seen," said Youval Arbel, sea campaigns manager at Zalul. "Hundreds of volunteers are working every day to remove the tar from the rocks before its toxic materials will be swept into the sea and hurt more animals."
Arbel continued to thank the EU delegation to Israel for its support and welcome gesture. "We are certain that [the EU delegation] will continue and help to advance Israel towards a greener future, based on renewable energies that don’t harm the environment,” he said.
"Protecting the environment is one of the EU’s top priorities," a press release by the EU delegation to Israel read.
"The EU puts a strong emphasis in its activities around the world, including in Israel, on preserving and cleaning beaches from waste, and the severe incident that has contaminated Israel's beaches in recent days is another, especially painful, reminder of the importance of these efforts."