An investigation was launched by the Agriculture Ministry and the Water Authority after hundreds of dead fish were discovered in the Tzalmon estuary of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) on Tuesday. Initial tests ruled out any danger of poison in the drinking water.
*עדכון דוברות רט”ג*
חשד להרעלה בשפך נחל צלמון לכנרת.
בעקבות דיווח שהתקבל הגיעו פקחי היחידה הימית של רשות הטבע והגנים למקום.
במקום ניצפו דגים מתים ונלקחו דגימות לבדיקה.
רטג פותחת בחקירת המקרה בשיתוף עם משרד החקלאות וגופים הנוספים.
בשעות אלו מתבצעת הוצאה של הדגים המתים מהמים. pic.twitter.com/IXidnJfD8M
— 🟢or keren (@Wq0oQJmUSfZunt5) May 16, 2023
Subsequent tests Lab results obtained from fish and water samples indicate the presence of Endosulfan, a controversial off-patent organochlorine insecticide that is being phased out globally because of its threats to human health and the environment. It is produced by the Israeli firm Makhteshim Agan.
Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority suspects the poisoning was criminal and intentional and has filed a criminal complaint with the police in an effort to catch and prosecute those responsible.
The ministry said the public can continue to consume fish, but urged them to exercise caution and only purchase items from established shops. The Jordan Valley Regional Authority is disposing of thousands of fish via an authorized company that deals with biological waste.
Authorities suspect that fishermen scattered poison in the water with the intention of selling the fish for consumption. This has occurred in the past. In 2008, a resident of Tiberias was arrested for poisoning the Kinneret. Two young men were hospitalized after eating poisoned fish. In 2007, authorities were accused of concealing a case of water poisoning.
Massive die-offs of fish are prophesied to accompany the end-of-days.
For that, the earth is withered: Everything that dwells on it languishes— Beasts of the field and birds of the sky— Even the fish of the sea perish. Hosea 4:3
Rabbi Shaul Judelman, former director of the Ecology Beit Midrash, a religious study group focused on the environment as it is treated in classical Jewish sources, noted that ecological endeavors are clearly an element in the Final Redemption.
“The sea used to be teeming with life,” Rabbi Judelman said. “It was a given in the Bible that the heaven and Earth would always exist. But when the prophets describe the end of life in the sea, it was the ultimate, an inconceivable level for people to imagine.”
“אחרית הימים (acharit hayamim; literally the end of days) can also be translated as the end of the oceans,” Rabbi Judelman pointed out.
“Nature is described as praising God and Man was set to guard over it. Our relationship with nature was initiated by Hashem (God) and how we relate to nature is an expression of how we relate to Hashem. Nature is God’s aspect of Judgment as related by God’s name of Elohim with which he created the world. In the end of days, when we are judged, we will be judged in this name, the name of nature. Some envision the end of days as armageddon and catastrophic. But according to Jewish tradition, there is another possibility that we can bring the Redemption in Achishena, through the sweetening of the judgment. Part of this can definitely be expressed through nature.”
“The environment is our divinely mandated responsibility. As such, harsh judgments can cause natural catastrophes. But in times of drought, we are told to pray but we are also told to engage in acts of charity. Nature is an extension of our relationship with God.”