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    IDF fined NIS 4M over asbestos failures
    Environmental Protection Ministry imposes highly unusual and hefty fine on military for failing to remove hazardous material from southern base

    The Environmental Protection Ministry intends to impose a NIS 3.8 million (about $1 million) fine on the IDF over its failure to remove asbestos boards found near Nathan Base, which is adjacent to Beersheba, Ynet learned Wednesday.


    The ministry said that the IDF was ordered to remove the hazardous material and given seven months to do so – but failed to comply.


    The order was issued after ministry inspectors found the asbestos near the base, which houses hundreds of soldiers. The IDF was ordered to immediately begin work to remove it in order to protect the soldiers' health.


    This is the first time in which a government ministry plans to fine the military. The Environmental Protection Ministry said that the IDF has 30 days to pay the fine – or seek an Attorney General's Office order reducing it.


    "The asbestos hazard near the base is the result of a series of failures by the IDF, which dates back to 2011… In violation of the Asbestos Hazards Prevention Law of 1992, the IDF failed to immediately inform the ministry of the hazard and waited some six weeks," the ministry said.


    "According to the law, the removal of asbestos hazards must be done by ministry-approved contractors only. The IDF did so on its own – and partially at that – and by dislodging and dragging the planks, it in fact created a secondary hazard; placing the soldiers serving on the base at an even greater risk."


    Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said that "It is inconceivable that IDF soldiers will be placed in harms way, health wise, while on base. While imposing a fine on the IDF is highly unusual, we will not allow the law to be ignored and lives put at risk."


    The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that "The military has been dealing with on-base asbestos hazards for over a decade. The hazards were reported to the ministry as required and are being dealt with."  



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