CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Member of Knesset (MK)Ofer Pines-Paz (Labor) initiated a bill that would bring the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) under Israel's Beach Protection Law.
The bill, approved by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation Sunday, will be presented to the full plenum later this week.
If the bill becomes law, free access to the Kinneret's beaches will be restored to the public. The bill also regulates construction around the lake and provides a more effective mechanism for administering fines for polluting Israel's only source of sweet water.
"The Kinneret was expropriated by force by special interests," Pines-Paz said. "This law will return control of the Kinneret and access to its water to the public," he said.
"The state of the Kinneret's beaches demands that we straighten out how they are administered. Closing public beaches for private use, charging exaggerated prices for access, restricting free movement on the beaches, building and using them in ways that contradict the public good -- all of this demands urgent regulation and oversight," Pines-Paz said.
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) welcomed the new legislation and affirmed the need to return the Kinneret's shoreline to the Israeli public.
"[The SPNI] sees great significance in expanding the Beaches Protection Law to the Kinneret and sees in it a very important step by the government to take responsibility for the Kinneret's beaches and return them to the public. Implementation of the law would mean that building projects such as the Corsi Hotel, which would take over beaches and steal them from the public, would not be possible. SPNI congratulates the bill's sponsor, MK Ofer Pines-Paz," the organization's statement read.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, after thousands of poisoned fish were found in the Tiberias marina, Israel's Health and Agricultural Ministries issued a public warning against purchasing fish caught in the Kinneret.
Later, ministry inspectors determined that the fish were deliberately poisoned, and police arrested a fisherman believed to have been involved in the incident.
Sources: The Jerusalem Post, YNet news service