Ministerial c'tee: Gov't backs Kinneret protection bill

Fisherman arrested for allegedly poisoning thousands of fish in Sea of Galilee.

kinneret 224.88 (photo credit: Jonathan Beck)
kinneret 224.88
(photo credit: Jonathan Beck)
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation decided Sunday that the government will support a bill to add Lake Kinneret to the areas covered by the Beach Protection Law. Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee Chairman Ophir Paz-Pines initiated the bill. Currently, the law only applies to the Mediterranean and Red Seas. If the bill is approved by the full Knesset, access to the Sea of Galilee's beaches will be free, fines for pollution will be instituted and all construction plans will have to be approved by a special committee. "The Kinneret was expropriated by force by special interests. This law will return control of the Kinneret and access to its waters to the public," Paz-Pines said in a statement. "The state of the Kinneret's beaches demands that we straighten out how they are administered. Closing public beaches for private use, charging exaggerated prices for access, restricting free movement on the beaches, building and using them in ways that contradict the public good - all of this demands urgent regularization and oversight," he continued. The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel threw its support behind Paz-Pines's bill. The SPNI said it "sees great significance in expanding the Beaches Protection Law to the Kinneret and sees in it a very important step by the government to take responsibility for the Kinneret's beaches and return them to the public. Implementation of the law would mean that building projects such as the Corsi Hotel, which take over beaches and steal them from the public would not be possible. "SPNI congratulates the bill's sponsor, MK Ophir Paz-Pines." The bill is expected to be put to a first vote in the Knesset plenum later this week. Meanwhile, a fisherman in his 30s has been arrested for alleged involvement in poisoning thousands of fish in the Kinneret over the weekend. On Saturday, tens of thousands of dead fish were found in the Kinneret marina, and police suspected the poisoning was an act of revenge following a dispute on fishing areas owned by rival fishermen. The suspect allegedly poisoned the fish in his rival's area after the latter had trespassed on his territory. Health Ministry inspectors have since been thoroughly examining fish-selling stands in the North. The Health and Agriculture ministries issued a strong warning not to eat fish caught in the Kinneret. Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.