15/02/2016
A Knesset (Parliament) committee has backed a decision by Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay to take away an environmental NGO’s right to sue for environmental damages. The Internal Affairs Committee approved Minister Gabbay’s decision last month to remove the Council for the Prevention of Noise and Air Pollution in Israel from the list of entities that can sue. Minister Gabbay: "Such organizations are supposed to help preserve the environment, not to cause additional difficulties for small businesses."

​The Law for the Prevention of Environmental Hazards allows entities recognized by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) to file civil suits for environmental damages against polluters. Successful plaintiffs of this type cannot receive monetary compensation; they can get a court order to force a company to halt certain activities.

Minister Gabbay’s decision came after the MoEP found that the Council for the Prevention of Noise and Air Pollution in Israel has threatened several small businesses that it will file criminal complaints against them, if they do not come to a settlement with the Council. As a result, several small businesses were forced to perform expensive activities that had no environmental value.

The Knesset committee unanimously approved Gabbay’s decision on February 15, 2016.