City Notes: Reckless ATV riders unseated by sting operation

The National Traffic Police conducted an undercover operation to remove reckless riders from park trails, the local website reported.

All Terrain Vehicle 311 (photo credit: ZAKA)
All Terrain Vehicle 311
(photo credit: ZAKA)
Following numerous complaints from local residents and tourists about reckless behavior by all-terrain- vehicle (ATV) riders in Emek Hefer area parks, the National Traffic Police conducted an undercover operation to remove reckless riders from park trails, the Local website reported.
Traffic police and volunteers deployed in civilian clothing hid their vehicles to ensure that ATV riders would not have advance warning of their presence. To prevent possible chase scenarios and protect park visitors, including small children, officers radioed ahead to a mobile offroad roadblock regarding reckless drivers, who then received tickets and had their vehicles impounded.
In one day of operations, nine ATVs and their drivers were removed from the parks’ paths. The riders and registered owners of the vehicles were fined.
Beaches top new rankings
The North officially has Israel’s highest-quality beaches, according to the Environmental Protection Ministry's new Blue-Green Flag campaign. The only two beaches to receive the ministry's highest score of 3 were Mateh Asher Regional Council’s Shavei Zion Beach and Haifa's Dado Zamir Beach.
The rankings are based on various criteria, including water quality, beach cleanliness, adequate parking, handicapped accessibility, beach facilities, sewage connections, public opinion and several other criteria at the discretion of the ministry.
Lowest ranked among the country’s open beaches were some of Tel Aviv’s beaches and Bat Yam’s Hasela Beach. Acre’s Hatmarim Beach also earned a score of 1. The ministry will update the rankings throughout the swimming season.
Two brothers, one license
In a story that could easily be mistaken for a movie plot, a 25-year-old Fureidis man was arrested by Zichron Ya’acov police on suspicion of using his twin brother’s driver’s license for four and a half years, Local reported.
The man, who has no driver’s license himself, was caught impersonating his identical twin after being tripped up by a particularly inquisitive officer who stopped him on Route 4, near Fureidis. In addition to the charge of driving without a valid license, the man was expected to be charged with unlawful impersonation and obstructing an officer’s investigation.
Principal wins Bronfman prize
The principal of a south Tel Aviv school is the latest recipient of the prestigious Charles Bronfman Prize for her work, which “serves as a global model rooted in compassion for those seeking to provide the basic right of education to all children in environments where they can learn, grow and thrive.”
Karen Tal is the principal of the Bialik-Rogozin school, which was the focus of the Academy Awardwinning film Strangers No More, highlighting the plight of foreign workers’ children in Israel.
The prize, which rewards young humanitarians “whose work is informed and fueled by Jewish values and has broad, global impact,” comes with a $100,000 check. Upon receipt of the prize, Tal said she hopes continued recognition of the school will help the nearly 180 of its pupils who face possible deportation.
Scary moment for flyers
Passengers on an Alitalia flight to Tel Aviv who happened to look out their windows during their final descent this week likely couldn’t believe their eyes when they noticed two IAF fighter jets flying closely alongside their passenger plane. The IAF jets were scrambled after the Alitalia flight failed to respond to repeated calls from the Ben-Gurion Airport control tower, Army Radio reported.
Thankfully, the IAF pilots were able to make contact with the passenger plane’s captain and the flight landed safely and on time.
Man arrested for harassing police
Following numerous reports of harassing calls to the police’s emergency 100 phone line, Tel Aviv District police arrested a man for calling on several dozen occasions and cursing officers manning the emergency dispatch phones. In order to catch the serial prank caller, police employed tracking technology and eventually located the pay phone from where the calls were placed.
While the man was making his final curse-laden call to the police, patrol officers arrived and placed him under arrest. During a preliminary investigation, officers discovered that not only had the man made dozens of past harassing calls to the police, he actually had a court-issued restraining order forbidding him to call the emergency 100 line. The suspect remained in police custody pending a court hearing.
‘Largest’ marijuana farm busted
Officers from the Border Police’s central district were amazed last week when they discovered, during a raid in Kafr Kasim, what they described as “the largest” and one of the most advanced hydro marijuana farms they had ever come across. Detectives from the Almog Unit raided the premises and found a cannabis-growing site “the size of which has not been seen to date,” police said.
“This was an advanced lab with air ventilation pipes, filters, powerful air conditioning, incubators for saplings, special lighting and silver aluminum foil on the walls for light reflection,” police added. Two suspects aged 30 from the town were arrested during the raid.
Tot survives night in desert
A two-year-old girl from a Beduin village near Tel Sheva gave her family and large numbers of police a good scare when she went missing from her home overnight.The girl was playing in the family’s backyard in the evening but was reported missing only late at night, leading to a large search operation that included police, helicopters and trackers.
Although police feared for her life, thinking she had fallen into a deep well or pit, the toddler was found in a nearby wadi the following morning and safely returned to her relieved parents.
Cocaine intercepted at Ashdod Port
Police intercepted a shipment of high-quality cocaine worth over NIS 60 million at the Ashdod Port, police announced this week.
In a raid carried out by undercover police and Ashdod Port customs officers, a Colombian ship was found to be carrying 250 kilograms of cocaine. The drugs were wrapped in plastic and stashed at the bottom of coffee sacks, police said. Two suspects were arrested in connection with the illicit shipment.
New hope for high-speed rail
Despite the plan being shelved for years due to low anticipated use and high costs, Israel Railways this week presented new plans for a high-speed rail line that would reduce travel time between Eilat and Tel Aviv to two and a half hours.
The Finance Ministry had previously rejected the proposed line, citing its questionable financial viability; but this week it announced a new tender for international companies to build, operate and later transfer ownership of the rail link. More than 70 bids have been received by firms eager to participate in the project.
In their new proposal, Israel Railways officials also asked a ministerial committee to allow the proposed line an increased speed of 230 kilometers per hour as opposed to the current speed limit of 160 kph.
Trees to block terrorists’ view
Utilizing lessons learned decades ago in the North, the Jewish National Fund recently began planting trees around communities and roads in the Gaza Strip border region to protect residents and commuters from rocket and missile fire from the Strip.
The project, inaugurated during Tu Bishvat this year, recently entered its most ambitious stage – planting a 12-kilometer strip of trees that will remove 11 communities from terrorists’ line of sight.
The first eucalyptus trees were planted around Independence Day near Kibbutz Mefalsim. The planting will eventually extend its protection to Holit, Ein Hashlosha, Nirim, Nir Oz, Kissufim, Nahal Oz, Kfar Aza, Nir Yitzhak, Sufa and Sa’ad.
Moonshine kills one, injures another
A Beersheba man was killed and his friend left in moderate condition after the pair apparently consumed large quantities of an unidentified homemade alcoholic beverage at their apartment.
One of the men, in his 40s, was pronounced dead by MDA paramedics who responded to an emergency call and evacuated his companion to Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba. Police were investigating the circumstances and causes of the poisoning.