Israelis warned to stay out of 11 streams due to high pollution

Health and Environment ministries say dangerous levels of bacteria found at many popular water attractions

Israelis enjoy the Tavor Stream nature reserve, on March 19, 2021. (Yahav Gamliel/Flash90)
Israelis enjoy the Tavor Stream nature reserve, on March 19, 2021. (Yahav Gamliel/Flash90)

The Health Ministry and the Environmental Protection Ministry warned on Thursday that 11 streams around Israel were found to have high bacteria levels and are dangerous to swimmers.

The ministries said that samples taken from the streams between August 2 and 4 found levels of bacteria that exceed the Health Ministry’s recommendation for safe immersion.

The affected streams include: the Snir Stream, a tributary of the Jordan River; the Jordan River itself between the Youssef and Arik bridges; the Gilabon Stream, the Yehudiya Stream, the Zaki River and the Hexagon pool in the Golan Heights; the Magrase Nature Reserve, next to the Sea of Galilee; the El Al stream in the Golan, next to the Black Falls; the Zalmon Stream, next to the Sea of Galilee; the Kziv Stream in the Upper Galilee; and the Ga’aton River in Naharyia.

The highest levels of pollution were found in the Zalmon Stream. The ministry said the levels of pollution are slated to be retested in two weeks.

The ministries said that — with the exception of the Snir Stream, whose pollution was traced to its entry point from Jordan — there was no clear sources found for the bacteria levels in the other streams.

With schools out for the summer, many Israelis — particular in August — flock to the country’s national parks and streams for leisure activities and to cool off from the heat.

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