Just in time for summer vacation, the first schools of jellyfish have been observed off Israel's coasts. Maritime officials in Israel said that large numbers of jellyfish – specifically “wired wanderers” - have been seen approaching the shore, from Ashkelon to Haifa.
In recent years, increasing numbers of jellyfish have massed in the eastern Mediterranean, affecting the shore from Egypt through Israel and Lebanon. The jellyfish released a poison in the water as they take up residence in the shallow waters near the shore, causing bathers to experience a sharp pain and, in some cases, allergic reaction.
The wired wanderers were once restricted to the Indian Ocean, but slowly emigrated into the Red Sea in the last century. After the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, they made their way into the Mediterranean, and now plague countries throughout the eastern Mediterranean.
There is little that can be done to battle the jellyfish, authorities said. Magen David Adom officials said they had received hundreds of complaints over the weekend, and suggested that individuals going to the beach and planning to go into the water bring with them a bottle of vinegar, which can be applied to infected areas. The only solution, officials said, was to wait out the jellyfish, which usually disappear by August.