The Israel Nature and Parks Authority has recently banned nighttime camping and other activities in the coastal nature reserve Gador, located west of Hadera, in a bid to preserve the wildlife and landscape of one of Israel's most beautiful beaches. Yet the authority is having difficulty keeping people out of the site after nightfall, and its regional inspector, Uri Shapira, says he has been subjected to swearing, threats and even assault.
On Sunday, piles of garbage, mattresses and remnants of bonfires cluttered the beach - which better resembles a garbage dump after weekends and holidays.
"This is the turtles' egg-laying season," bemoans Shapira, referring to two turtle species on the brink of extinction. "But they can't come to the beach and lay their eggs in the sand with the noise and lights."
Other species are also unable to go about their nocturnal activities in the presence of people. What's more, the piles of leftover food attract crows and foxes, which eat the turtles' eggs and other animals living on the reserve.
Staying in Gador overnight is also a safety hazard, as the gravel cliff adjacent to the beach is in danger of collapsing in several places, according to Shapira.
Since Gador's recent classification as a nature reserve, Shapira has called off numerous events and dismantled several encampments which remained there after dark.
"Sometimes people swear and threaten me and once I was attacked," he says.
On one occasion, Shapira says he had to call the police after members of a well-known crime family refused to leave their tents at night.
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