The tar was apparently due to dozens to hundreds of tons of oil that leaked from a ship, said the Israeli Ministry of Environment.
The animal world was particularly affected: numerous marine animals such as turtles were covered with a black, sticky film. A young fin whale was washed up lifeless on the beach.
Helpers complained of malaise
Thousands of volunteers helped clean up the beaches over the weekend. However, according to media reports, several of them later complained of malaise. Schaul Goldstein, chairman of the Israeli nature and parks authority, spoke of the worst natural disaster in years.
In talks with its southern neighbor, Egypt, it was suggested that ships in the Mediterranean should be equipped with environmentally friendly fuel in the future. “If several countries work together, we can make a big change in just a few years, keeping the sea, land and beaches clean.”