Herzliya Mayor Under Fire for Beach Pollution

The Ministry of Environmental Protection has subpoenaed the mayor of Herzliya and two senior municipal officials to attend a hearing concerning suspicions that the city's sewage was allowed to flow into the Mediterranean Sea.

A spokesperson for Herzliya municipality said that at the hearing, which will be held at the office of the ministry's director of the Tel Aviv region, Baruch Weber, Mayor Yael German will deny that the pollution originated in Herzliya. In the subpoena, Weber's office wrote that the environment police found large quantities of raw sewage spilling onto a beach in Herzliya during an unplanned inspection last week. Spilling sewage into the sea is a violation of the law on water and the cleanliness law.

An analysis of the seawater near the beach showed it contained a high concentration of the bacteria escherichia coli, which ministry investigators say confirms their suspicion that sewage was allowed to flow freely into the sea. According to the ministry, the municipality has been warned in the past about the sewage flow, but ignored the notices. The last notice came last summer, when the city was warned that it must act to stem the flow of untreated sewage.

Reacting to the subpoena, a spokesperson for the Herzliya municipality said: "It seems that the director of the Tel Aviv district is overreacting, and instead of dealing with the ongoing sea pollution, is looking for scapegoats while tending to public relations."

The city also said that it is not the source of the pollution, and does not allow sewage to spill into the sea. "The source of the pollution is in Tel Aviv, and drifted to Herzliya with the current. The city will act with all the means available to it to prove that the ministry's claim is false, and Mr. Weber will have to answer for his puzzling behavior."