SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – The Australian founder of a movement to clean up Israel has denied allegations that he illegally dumped hazardous waste material.
Phillip Foxman accused the New South Wales Department of Environment of conducting a “witch hunt” against him, according to a report Sunday in the Sun-Herald newspaper in Sydney.
The newspaper reported that a local council south of Sydney has taken civil action against Foxman for allegedly dumping more than 25,000 tons of material.
In proclaiming his innocence, Foxman told the Sun-Herald, “There are a number of vicious, nasty and unethical people in the organization. I don’t consider this illegal dumping. I have a development approval for the site to build a house and a pool … and I am a licensed recycling contractor.”
Foxman was inspired to launch an environmental organization in Israel after witnessing the 1997 Maccabiah bridge disaster. Four Australian Jews died when a makeshift bridge collapsed over the Yarkon River, plunging the Australian team into its polluted waters.
On his return from the 1997 Maccabiah, Foxman met Clean Up Australia founder Ian Kiernan, and the idea for Clean Up Israel was born. Foxman was in Israel last week helping to organize 100,000 volunteers for this year’s Clean Up Israel day, which was held March 29.