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Environmental Crime Legal Framework In Israel

While Israel has no formal constitution, the nation has what is referred to as the Knesset, which is the parliament of the State. Israel is governed by its “basic laws” – “Chukei Ha-Yesod” in Hebrew. These laws were passed over the past 73 years, beginning with a two-page law that described the makeup of Israel’s legislature, the Knesset, and citizens’ voting rights. Today, the country is governed by a 124-page collection of 13 laws. There are no constitutional considerations for the protection of the environment. Nevertheless, there is a collection of environmental legislation which will be further explored below.

Featured Legislation

1982: The Animal Diseases Regulations were adopted. These Regulations prescribe prohibition of removal of any animal from the area of a local authority, other than with a written permit from a Government veterinarian (sect. 2). Section 3 gives detailed information about the kind of vehicle to be used for the transport of animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, swine, horses or poultry. Section 4 prescribes the registration of any vehicle used for the transport of animals and the procedures related to such a registration.

1984: The Maintenance of Cleanliness Law was adopted. The legislation states  that a person should not stain or dispose of waste in the public domain, as well as shipped from the public space to private space. The local authorities allocate sites for disposal of garbage, including construction waste, trimmings, scrap vehicle tires. The law also established the Maintenance of Cleanliness Fund, in order to concentrate financial resources for the purposes of protecting the environment and cleanliness, to prevent dumping and to ensure treatment of waste.

1993: The Recycling Law was enacted,  requiring local authorities to allocate land for the establishment of centers in their respective fields which will be installed in the designated containers and recycling facilities. Local authorities were also required to determine bylaw regulations for collection and removal of waste recycling in their respective fields.

1998: Regulations concerning collection and removal of waste for recycling purposes were created. The regulations require the various authorities to report on the quantities of waste produced in their territory, in order to set binding targets for recycling in the coming years.

2007: Regulations were introduced to protect the environment against the hazards of untreated waste tires. That same year, additional regulations were added, imposing a tax on landfills which would be transferred directly to the Maintenance of Cleanliness Fund.

2011: The Packaging Treatment Regulation Law was signed into force  in 2011: Encouraging recycling of packaging, by imposing responsibility on the Mihzorn on manufacturers and importers, and requiring them to report the weight of packaging products sold by them every year.

2011: The Environmental Protection (Inspection and Enforcement Authorities) Law was brought into force, protecting, maintaining and improving the quality of the environment and the prevention of harm to the environment and to public health, by defining and extending the inspection and enforcement authorities of employees of the Ministry of Environment Protection. The significance of the Law seems to be its comprehensive application to a long list of existing Israeli laws, specified in its addendum, that provide protection to the environment and to public health.

2012: Additional environmental laws were established to regulate the waste management of batteries, batteries and electrical and electronic equipment, and encourage the reuse of it as well as prevention of landfilling.

2014: The Forest Management Policy was unveiled. It is a nationwide sectoral document aiming at introducing the latest developments in forestry, ecology, social and economic sciences to implement changes in current approaches and concepts of forest management. It represents a basis for managing Israel’s forests in a goal-oriented and sustainable fashion. The primary goal of forestry in Israel is to provide a variety of ecosystem services to its citizens recognizing the importance of biological diversity. Subsidiary goals related to the aforementioned goal are the following (i) provision of recreational and outdoor activity services; (ii) landscape design and diversification; (iii) provision of supporting and regulatory services (i.e. carbon sequestration, primary productivity); (iv) supporting Israel’s unique biological diversity; (v) provision of soil and water conservation services (preventing soil erosion, increasing water infiltration); (vi) provision of a variety of economic benefits to society (wood products, pasture, tourism); (vii) protection of open landscape; (viii) protection of Israel’s native tree species and reintroduction of native trees to the landscape; (ix) protection and restoration of natural heritage landscapes; (x) ecological restoration of damaged sites and ecosystems; (xi) creation of buffer zones around communities to mitigate the effects of environmental hazards such as noise, air pollution, visual blemishes to the landscape, and to protect against wildfires; (xii) strengthening the public’s identification with the forest and nature, and educating them to protect it.

Featured Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

  • In northeastern Colombia, families of activists working for human rights, workers’ rights and indigenous communities’ rights have been subject to torture, rape and displacement by a murderous paramilitary organization. The leader of the paramilitary group, Hernán Giraldo Serna, was deported to Colombia after being released from a federal prison in the United States on January 25, 2021. Serna remains in custody in Colombia, but there are mounting fears that he will be released by corrupt officials, despite his involvement in what some say are the most egregious crimes against humanity during Colombia’s decades-long civil war. Human Rights NGOs have turned their attention to Israel because members of Serna’s militia were trained by Israelis. In fact, since the 1980s: Colombia’s paramilitary groups have been using Israeli-made weapons. With the approval of Israel’s Ministry of Defense, a company in Colombia named Indumil manufactures various models of Galil rifles without monitoring how they are used or in whose hands they end up. While Colombia’s civil war ended in June 2016: Serna’s militia continues to terrorize local communities and the country’s rotating right-wing governments have refrain from prosecuting members of the brutal paramilitary groups. With Colombia’s extensive forested landmass, corrupt politicians and criminal organizations work in tandem to exploit natural resources which end up causing tremendous environmental damage. In 2018: 18 environmental activists were murdered in Colombia; in 2019: Another 64. In October 2020: The body of activist and businesswoman Juana Perea Plata was found on the beach in Nuquí, in western Colombia. She was abducted from her home and shot in the head by the right-wing militia as retaliation for organizing a campaign against the establishment of a commercial port in the area. Israel also maintains close security ties with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, who has been accused of turning a blind eye to Honduras’ national security forces and their affiliated paramilitary and criminal organizations who consider environmentalists a legitimate target. In 2019: 14 activists were murdered for their attempt to protect the environment from unsustainable and exploitative practices.

References and Further Reading


Minister of Environmental Protection, MK Tamar Zandberg: