The Uniqueness of Israel
Coping With Jellyfish During Your Gap Year in Israel
During your gap year in Israel there is no doubt that you will spend plenty of time on the beach. One thing that you may not be aware of is that there are lots of jellyfish in the waters along Israel’s coast. If you have never encountered jellyfish before then this may sound off-putting; however, they really are very easy to deal with.
The good news is that they are not there all year round. The jellyfish tend to arrive on Israeli beaches when the seawater reaches roughly 28.2-30 degrees Celsius. Just recently, Israeli researchers discovered that 94% of the local jellyfish swarms take place around 176 days into the year, roughly when the sea reaches 30 degrees. As a result, you may be able to avoid jellyfish altogether if you don’t go to the beach during the height of summer.
The most common jellyfish found in Israeli waters is the 1990 Galil Rhopilema, also known as nomad jellyfish. They come to Israel all the way from the Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal. However, it wasn’t until 1976 that they were first seen in Israel, an entire century after the Suez Canal was opened.
If you are unlucky enough to be stung by a jellyfish then you should know that contrary to common beliefs, peeing on it will not help. There just isn’t enough acid in human urine to deal with the venom. If you are going into the sea and you see jellyfish around then it is probably best to wear some kind of diving suit or you can use the Israeli-developed Safe Sea lotion to help protect you and ease the pain if you are stung.
Perhaps the worst thing about jellyfish is that you can get stung even when it seems that there aren’t any around. You can go to the beach, carefully examine the water, see that there are no jellyfish, go for a swim and still come out stung. This is because jellyfish tentacles sometimes become detached, carry on floating, and still spreading venom. However, this won’t hurt as much as a full on sting.
It isn’t just the people on the beach that jellyfish cause a problem for. They also cause problems for the Israel Electric Corporation. Many of Israel’s power plants are on the coast and use seawater to cool their systems. This means that it is not uncommon for jellyfish to enter the cooling system and damage it. However, the Israel Electric Corporation has a great deal of experience dealing with this issue, and it very rarely leads to power cuts.
While you may have no desire to ever come across a jellyfish, as with almost everything in Israel, they have inspired some scientific breakthroughs. Israeli scientists have been studying the way in which jellyfish sting and are looking at ways of emulating it to improve the way that drugs are delivered. It is also thought that jellyfish could be used to filter micro-plastics in the ocean, create medical collagen and produce biomarkers to monitor genes.
Next time you are relaxing on an Israeli beach and see the flag warning you about jellyfish, just remember that they really aren’t that bad.