HaifaIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The Knesset Committee on Environment and Health received worrisome data on Monday regarding the incidence of cancer in the northern port city of Haifa.  According to the committee's chairman, MK Dov Chenin (Hadash), Haifa residents are 30 percent more likely to suffer from the disease than the average Israeli.

The types of cancer that are most common in Haifa, Chenin told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew-language magazine, are “lung cancer and other kinds of cancer that are usually associated with smoking, such as cancer of the neck and head."

He noted that cigarette smoking is not more common among Haifa residents than it is among other residents of Israel. Therefore, he said, cigarette smoking could not be the cause of the higher rate of these cancers.

The reason, he added, could only be the pollution-spewing factories in Haifa. “The Haifa area,” he said, “is the area with the largest concentration of polluting factories.”

The solution involves moving plants from Haifa to other locations, but this is a very expensive undertaking and the Department of Treasury is averse to approving the necessary funds. “These things have financial implications, but finances come after human life, and there is agreement on this principle in our committee,” Chenin said. A Clean Air Act regulating pollution is expected to go into force in early 2011, Chenin said.

The central element in the Hadash party is the Israeli Communist Party.