Israel Suffers Worst Eco Disaster in History


In what looks to be a disaster of biblical proportions, 5 million liters of oil gushed out of a broken pipeline flooding a desert nature reserve in Israel causing one of the worst environmental disasters in the history of the country. River of Oil


The oil poured out of the ground creating a seven-kilometer long river of poisonous sludge flowing down the Arava in southern Israel through the Evrona Nature Reserve located 20 kilometers north of Eilat. The unique nature reserve is home to many indigenous animals, flora and fauna from biblical times, including rare acacia trees.


"Rehabilitation could take up to 50 years," said Guy Samet from the Environmental Protection Ministry who called it one of the gravest pollution events in the country's history. "We are still having trouble gauging the full extent of the contamination," he said. Police have ruled out foul play after discovering that the pipeline burst during regular maintenance work.


With heavy rains forecasted for this week, officials are now concerned that the highly toxic pollutants could run down to the Gulf of Eilat endangering the coral reefs and abundant marine life in the Red Sea.


The aging pipeline was first opened in the 1960s to bring oil from Iran in the Persian Gulf to European markets across the Mediterranean. Since Israeli-Iranian relations broke down in 1979, the pipeline has been used to bring oil from the Gulf of Eilat to different parts of Israel.


This is God's Land


Like many Old Testament prophesies, oil spills can easily appear to be environmental calamities by which God punishes his people for recklessly tampering with his creation. Certainly the thoughtless exploitation of the earth's natural resources -- especially during the past century - and all in the name of socio-economic progress, is ungodly. The earth's resources have been wastefully misused, and many plant and animal species have become extinct, due in many cases, to careless human consumption.


Some fear that modern science has given humans so much power that we think we can play God with the world. Indeed, without God's word and his wisdom to guide us, the unshackled progress of science and economics may very well destroy us before they can save us.


While the prophets predicted that God would cause the desert of Israel to blossom and new life to spring up in a land that was barren, one would have to be heartless not to be moved by the sight of the deer, birds and other precious wildlife squirming with suffocation stuck in the muck of this manmade oil spill. Israel is a tiny land with a very delicate and easily damaged eco-system, and this awful ecological disaster is a rude awaking that we must be more careful in the way we take "dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." For as it is written, "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it."


At Beit Immanuel Congregation we assist a number of families in crisis with prayers, intensive counseling and practical helps. 
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David Lazarus
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