World Environment Day

On 05.06.2019, World Environment Day was marked throughout the world.  The Office of the Ombudsman deals widely with environmental protection issues

World Environment Day is marked annually by the United Nations, on 6 June. The Office of the State Comptroller and Ombudsman deals widely with environmental protection issues.

The audit chapter relating to Enforcement in Fields of Environmental Protection in Annual Report 69B, which was published in May 2019, found that one of the prominent failings of the enforcement activity of the Ministry of Environmental Protection was the low rate of criminal enforcement, the Ministry sufficing with dealing with the nuisance and implementing limited administrative enforcement.

As stated, the Office of the Ombudsman is also required to deal with environmental issues.  The following are examples of complaints handled by the Office:

Noisy music from the Talmudical college disturbed the residents' rest

Residents of a neighbourhood in the centre of Israel complained that a Talmudical college situated close to their homes sounded noisy music over a PA system prior to the start of the Sabbath. Complaints of the residents addressed to the Rabbi of the college and to the Municipality were not treated appropriately - and the noise nuisance only worsened.  Moreover, when one of the complainants, in protest, sounded loud music opposite the college one Friday, a municipal inspector confiscated the loudspeaker and even fined him.

The Office of the Ombudsman initiated a mediation session between representatives of the complainants and representatives of the Municipality. By agreement of the parties, a scheme was laid out for reducing the volume of noise from the college's PA system and reducing the length of time the music was sounded.  The Municipality undertook to increase enforcement measures in order to implement the scheme laid out in the mediation.

Bnei Brak Municipality to pay for sanitation defects

A resident of Bnei Brak complained that the Municipality of Bnei Brak was ignoring her complaints regarding serious sanitation hazards in her neighbourhood.  Investigation of the complaint disclosed that for years the issue of rubbish disposal in the complainant's neighbourhood had not been addressed. In addition, serious sanitation hazards, which had not been handled by the municipality on a regular basis, were found in the location.

The Office of the Ombudsman pointed out the defects in the actions of the municipality concerning the cleaning of the neighbourhood, the disposal of rubbish from it and the removal of sanitation hazards in the area. As a result, the municipality removed the sanitation hazards in the area and even regulated the disposal of rubbish from the residents' homes and from businesses in the neighbourhood.  Furthermore, the municipality instructed the residents to install rubbish bins, as required under the by-laws.

The State Comptroller and Ombudsman determined that the complaint was justified and that in light of the defects, the municipality would donate 15,000 NIS to three organizations working in Bnei Brak for the benefit of disabled persons.