Thousands of Druze from the northern Golan Heights marched to Berekhat Ram (Ram Pool) on Friday in protest against the increased water pumping at the crater lake, which is located near the villages Majdal Shams and Mas'ade.
According to the protestors, the lake is close to being completely dried up due to the pumping of water by Mekorot, Israel's national water company, for irrigation purposes.
The pool was once more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) long and 600 meters (roughly 2,000 feet) wide, but most of the water has either evaporated due to the heat or gradually drained by Mekorot.
According Salim Safdi, the former Mas'ade council head, 20 tons of fish have died as a result. He called on the government to limit the amount of water Mekorot can draw from the pool.
Kids next to dead fish (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
"The water situation in Israel is terrible due to decades of bad management, but the residents of the villages in the Golan will not be those who pay the price," he said.
Majdal Shams resident Hamoudi Abu Salah said, "As kids we couldn't afford kayaking in the Jordan River, so we would come here to swim, fish and play around. Now they are destroying it."
The water form the pool is used to irrigate agricultural fields belonging to Druze villages and kibbutzim in the Golan Heights. The residents said they may have to refrain from expanding their fields in order to save the pool.
Mekorot said the pumping is carried out in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Water Authority.
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