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Environment minister goes diving to save coral

Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman took a hands-on approach to her job Monday as she went diving to help with the preservation of coral reefs off the southern resort city of Eilat, her ministry said in a statement.

Silman, known for her boldly pattered dresses, donned a wetsuit and scuba equipment as she joined Israel and Nature Parks Authority staff to relocate coral that had established itself on unnatural objects.

The slowly growing marine creatures occasionally attach themselves to sunken metal waste that has drifted into the local coral nature reserve.

The minster helped carefully pry the coral off so that it could be deposited on a more natural platform, the statement said.

The INPA regularly moves coral as part of its preservation work for the coral reefs.

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“This action is often a preliminary step to the removal of waste from the heart of the sea on which protected natural assets have been established,” the statement said.

The ministry noted that the coral reefs in the Gulf of Eilat are the most northern reefs in the world and support a wide variety of marine life.

“These reefs are extremely sensitive and constitute a unique habitat that must be preserved against physical damage, sea pollution, and more,” it said.

Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman, left, and Social Affairs Minister Yaacov Margi arrive for a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on January 22, 2023. (Fitoussi/FLASH90)

Silman took over the Environmental Protection Ministry at the beginning of the year after the new government was sworn at the end of December.