Over the last few days, black tar has washed up all along the shores of Israel from Ashkelon in the south all the way to the Lebanese border at Rosh Hanikra, causing damage to sea animals and ecosystems. I myself just walked there and saw fish and squid dead on the shore.
The Western coast of Israel has always been the sea. In fact one of the words for “west” in the Hebrew Bible is Yama “toward the sea.” Sandy material forming the lovely Israeli beaches comes from as far as Africa by means of the Nile and sea currents. The same currents are now spreading the tar.
As a child growing up in the city of Akko on the Mediterranean Sea, our main source of entertainment was the sea. On Saturday mornings we would go out with the whole family for a swim. Even then, we sometimes had to clean our feet from tar. Large ships leak fuel and avoid accountability. A huge leak in recent weeks has polluted beaches formerly rich in biodiversity. It feels like ecological terrorism.
As a resident who still lives very close to the beach in the Western Galilee, it is sad to see human disregard for natural treasures given to us by the Creator. May we be a part of God’s restoration in all things including nature. Creation itself is in some way longing for this to happen (Romans 8:19-22).