From Nitzanim near the Gaza Strip to the coast bordering Lebanon, 106 miles of the Mediterranean coast are covered with asphalt.
The pollution was first discovered on Wednesday, but a storm the next day transported oil and tar to Israeli beaches.
Thousands of volunteers from various environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Israel participated in the work of cleaning up beaches and saving injured animals. A whale washed ashore and died. Dozens of sea turtles were killed.
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The Ministry of Environmental Protection said on Saturday that the European Maritime Safety Agency had notified that the oil spill about 30 miles off the coast of Israel was a source of pollution. They refuted all reports that Israel had any prior knowledge of the leak before it reached the coast.
The Israeli judge issued a gag order against the investigation and any details related to the investigation in an unusual move, including the name or identity of the suspect, the vessel involved, and the destination and port of departure.
Maya Jacobs, chief executive of the Israeli non-governmental organization Zalul, called for the ban to be lifted and a transparent investigation conducted.
She said: “Companies that pose environmental risks, such as oil and transportation companies, have a great impact on the Israeli government.”
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Israeli President Ruvi Rivlin visited Herzeliya Beach to observe the damage caused by the leak.
When the president saw it on the polluted beach, he said: “What we see here are eyes and heartache.” “These attractions are a wake-up call. We should not ignore that this is a national obligation. This is our protection for future generations. The only way for them to live in a safe, clean and pollution-free environment.”
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Yehoshua Shkedy, the chief scientist of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, warned that the spill has caused unprecedented damage to the ecosystem and the cleanup will continue for several years.
Yonat Friling is a senior live producer in the Middle East Bureau of Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @Foxyonat.