Minister of Environmental Protection, Idit Silman, addressed this morning (Wednesday) the Government Legal Advisor, Gali Baharav-Miara, regarding the decision of the Ministry of Justice to delay the separate bathing pilot program in the springs of the Nature and Parks Authority, which was supposed to commence this past Sunday. In her communication, she urged for an immediate decision on the matter and cautioned that this constitutes a severe impact on the Haredi and Arab public.
"The Nature and Parks Authority, under my ministerial responsibility, has initiated a limited and controlled pilot for separate bathing at two spring sites outside of their opening hours, during the month of August 2023, in response to numerous appeals from the Haredi and Arab communities," Silman stated in the letter. "The pilot has received supportive testimony from Attorney General of The Nature and Parks Authority Ophir Bar-Tal. The pilot program's planning was already published in January 2023 and was submitted, as conveyed to us by the Nature and Parks Authority, to the Ministry of Justice for updates many weeks ago."
"Unfortunately, only last Wednesday, following another publication of the pilot program, officials from the Ministry of Justice went to the trouble of instructing the Attorney General in writing not to implement the pilot without their approval," she continued. "As previously mentioned at the beginning of the week, extensive discussions were held with representatives from the The Nature and Parks Authority, alongside Attorney Avital Sompolinsky, the Deputy Attorney General to the Government, during which the pilot program was presented and various legal considerations were discussed. The outcome of the discussion was that the matter will be brought before you by Deputy Attorney General Sompolinsky for your consideration. In the context of this discussion, urgent timelines were set for receiving a response."
Furthermore, she stated that "despite the pressing timelines and the need to conduct the pilot during 'Ben HaZmanim,' I understand from the officials of the Ministry of Justice that they do not currently have the time to address the issue and have not yet provided a response to The Nature and Parks Authority. I regret this, and I am sorry for the significant impact on the service that could have been offered to the ultra-Orthodox and religious Arab public in this area due to this delay."
"The pilot was designed without harming the population as a whole, including the separation only outside of normal operating hours, ensuring close and appropriate alternatives, the existence of a mixed evening in addition to two separate evenings, and all in accordance with the rules previously discussed for examining the legality of such events, among others in the opinion of attorney Gil Limon" she concluded. "I would ask that you take up the issue as soon as possible and respond positively to the aforementioned pilot."