Archive for Dead Sea Israel
The Dead Sea is a natural wonder, biblical landmark and mineral treasure– but the unique body of water is getting smaller.
Some even fear the loss of water could doom the Dead Sea, which sits on the Great Rift Valley between Israel and Jordan.
It’s fed by fresh water from the Jordan River and mineral springs. The Dead Sea is the world’s saltiest lake– so salty, no fish can survive in it. It’s also the lowest place on earth, but experts warn it’s getting even lower.
Each year, the level of the Dead Sea drops by more than four feet and in the last 25 years, some parts of the shoreline have retreated nearly a mile.
Experts say the sea is evaporating now faster than ever. Geologist Eli Raz blames man, not nature.
“The drop in the level of the Dead Sea is due to the human interference in the balance of the Dead Sea,” he said.
Raz added that for decades both Israel and Jordan have diverted the waters of the Jordan River, allowing only a trickle into the sea. He also blames industries that harvest the rich minerals.
But Noam Goldstein says companies like the Dead Sea Works actually help the area.
“We are taking water from the northern part to the southern part. The southern part –our evaporation ponds — without it, it was dry,” Goldstein explained.
It’s been years since the Dead Sea flowed naturally to the far south. Now, a canal routes water from the natural upper sea to evaporation ponds where sun and hot, dry weather produce the raw materials that turn into money.
Today, Israel’s Dead Sea Works and its Jordanian counterpart mine minerals like potash, magnesium and bromine. In fact they produce 10 percent of the world’s potash– a main product in fertilizer.
Dead Sea Tourism
Tourism also thrives on the waters there, which are 10 times saltier than ocean water.
At the Ein Gedi Spa some 250,000 tourists visit each year — more than half from abroad.
Getting into the Dead Sea gives the feeling of a bobbing cork, since you can’t sink in the water.
The water and atmosphere also have medicinal properties and doctors even prescribe a visit to the Dead Sea as a treatment for skin and breathing ailments.
Drugs couldn’t help Melody Dagan’s psoriasis, but a visit for treatment at the Dead Sea was so successful she decided to stay.
“It’s one year I’m here. I can feel the difference. Even though when I’m in the sun I feel it more. But even just working here with the special air [it's] helping a lot,” said Dagan, who works at the Ein Gedi Spa.
With so many unique benefits it’s easy to understand the alarm over the drop in the level of the Dead Sea. Two major projects are being considered to save it.
Saving Healing Waters
One option: the Med-Dead canal would pump water 45 miles from the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea, creating electricity for Israel.
Another project called the Red-Dead canal would actually send water uphill some 140 miles from the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba in Jordan before it runs down to the Dead Sea.
The World Bank is spending more than $1 billion to study the feasibility, but some say political motives are involved. The Red-Dead canal is supposed to be a joint Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian peace project.
“To market the project they cover it with lot of phrases but actually there is nothing except producing water for Jordan, which is very important but to my opinion we can produce water for Jordan in other way much cheaper economically and environmentally,” Raz said.
Experts warn quick fixes would be costly and cause irreparable damage to the Dead sea and surrounding area.
They say introducing seawater there could cause gypsum crystals to form and bacteria to grow. Some believe a more natural option is available — even though it would require importing and desalinating water.
“Let the Jordan flow down to the Dead Sea as it used to be before the settlements and the agricultural areas took the water,” said Hebrew University of Jerusalem Professor Avner Adin.
Adin said interdependence between countries when it comes to water should be a last resort.
“Water is life and we should be independent in this,” Adin said.
Dead Sea’s Biblical Roots
But while modern man seeks to save the Dead Sea, the Bible has a lot to say about both its past and future.
It’s an area rich in biblical history. By the streams of Ein Gedi, a young David and his men hid from an angry King Saul.
Named for the ibex or wild mountain goats still climbing its cliffs, the Ein Gedi springs would have provided valuable water for agriculture and living in the desert area.
Further south, the barren heights of Sodom loom where the Bible says Lot and his family fled a hail of brimstone. Across the sea are the mountains of Moab and Edom in present day Jordan.
Ezekiel also prophesied that one day the waters of the Great Salt Sea would be healed and teaming with fish. The prophet Zechariah said that the day would come when Israel’s messiah will return to the Mount of Olives.
It’s a day Christians worldwide anticipate.
Work on the Dead Sea Canal canal project must start immediately to stop water levels from receding further, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said.
Speaking before the Knesset’s finance committee Monday, Shalom said it is vital to begin a pilot project examining environmental impact the proposed canal will have on the Dead Sea and addressing receding water levels, Maariv reported.
Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have agreed to the construction of the canal, a 112-mile link between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea. About 52.8 billion gallons of water will be pumped annually to the Dead Sea and other desalination projects to be used by the three entities, the Tel Aviv newspaper said.
The project will be carried out in stages, with one of four pipelines laid to pump the water from the Red Sea, the newspaper said. The second stage will involve the desalination of 26.4 billion gallons of water which will be transferred to Jordan, and the third stage relates to the transfer of the remaining 26.4 billion gallons of water to the Dead Sea, the newspaper said.
The Dead Sea moved forward in the international Seven Wonders of Nature competition on Thursday — now the only Israeli site among the 77 worldwide contenders.
Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov announced an international campaign for the Dead Sea to win the competition, by emphasizing the uniqueness of this natural wonder.
Prior to this last cut, Ein Gedi, the Rosh Hanikra rock formation, and the Red Sea Reef were also among the nominees, and Israel was the leading nation in the Middle East, ahead of Lebanon, Egypt and Iran. This time, the Dead Sea is the only one to move forward.
The competition aims to raise awareness of conservation issues and bring increased tourism to protect these wonders for the future generations.
The Dead Sea, sitting some 420 meters below sea level, is shrinking at an alarming rate.
Gura Berger, public relations spokesman for the Megillot Dead Sea Regional Council, said that “part of the idea behind listing the Dead Sea for this competition was to raise international public awareness about this bad situation. I believe that winning is to be able to tell people that the Dead Sea is vanishing at a rate of more than a meter a year.”
Berger said the municipality had organized a rock festival dedicated to helping the Dead Sea and “calling people to vote,” as well as the “Tour of the Dead Sea” campaign and many other events.
“Winning in such a competition means a lot [not only] in terms of tourism, but also about caring for the environment,” said Berger. “If we win, it means that we care where we live… and this is the real victory.”
According to Amnon Lieberman, media adviser to the tourism minister, there is “no doubt [the nomination] will increase tourism and attract public attention from all over the world. This competition will allow us [also] to emphasize why the Dead Sea is so unique.”
Asked whether he was optimistic about the final nomination of the Dead Sea, Lieberman said, “This candidacy is still lasting after a year. It has already been through two phases, and I hope that we will get to the final phase.”
The voting for the final round will begin July 22 at www.new7wonders.com, and is expected to continue into 2011.
Other sites competing for a spot as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature include the Great Barrier Reef, the Grand Canyon, the Galapagos Islands, Niagara Falls, Mount Fuji, the Black Forest, the Maldives Islands and many others.
Well, in one respect it can be that the answer is the Dead Sea in Israel. You see, it is the lowest point on the planet! The Dead Sea is actually a good size lake on the south eastern part of Israel about 45 minutes drive from Jerusalem. This unique body of water has the highest concentration of salt compared to any other water source. In fact, it is up to 10 times saltier than the ocean. This fact alone is the cause of lack of any life form within that sea. However, it does bring life — mainly to your skin.What kind of salts or minerals would you find in it? Well, there are over 21 different minerals with the main ones being: Magnesium, Potassium, and Calcium.
The Dead Sea is most famous for being a healing resort for people who suffer from skin disorders including: Psoriasis, Acne, Eczema, Scabies, Dermatitis, Seborrhea and Dandruff. It also helps balance extreme conditions of dry skin and a host of other skin problems.
This unique sea is in fact one big natural and potent spa. People come from all over the world to bath in its salty water and to rub black mineral mud on their body. Even if you don’t suffer from any skin problem you will sure to enjoy the pampering that is the result of bathing in the magical waters of this lake. Your skin will feel young and healthy again. Due to the fantastic amount of salt, floating in the Dead Sea is very easy; in fact you can’t avoid it. So if your swimming skills are in need of polishing — you will do just fine here.
Aside from being a healing attraction the Dead Sea offers some of the best resorts and hotels in Israel. The proximity to the capital of the country — Jerusalem — allows for a great vacation. In addition to that there are other interesting historical sites around including Masada and Qumran where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were found. All in all, this place is an oasis waiting to heal you physically and recharge you spiritually.
For more info about the Dead Sea and other sites in Israel please check out my website: http://www.israel-travel-and-tours.com/index.html
About the Author
Born and raised in Israel, Hillel operate a travel website: http://www.israel-travel-and-tours.com/index.html about the country. in it you can find data and recommendations about different tourist sites in the country and other useful tips.
The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth, lying at the bottom of the Great Syrian African Rift Valley, about 400 metres 1280ft below sea level. The area is renowned for the health giving properties of its rich minerals, and the Dead Sea is known as ‘nature’s own health farm’.
More than just another interesting sightseeing destination, the Dead Sea is one of the most fascinating places on earth, boasting an extraordinary combination of natural geography, history, archaeology and luxurious pampering options that together add up to an unforgettable holiday.
The healing properties of the Dead Sea have been known for centuries, and people have travelled from the world over to relieve symptoms of rheumatism, arthritis and psoriasis. Many also come to the Dead Sea simply to relax in the resort’s unique atmosphere. The extra bromine in the air helps to slow down the system, inducing a feeling of relaxation that one cannot find anywhere else in the world. An ideal place to recharge your batteries!
Looking out over the Dead Sea is the mountain fortress of Massada, accessible by either the Snake Path or by cable car and an ideal destination for a day-trip.
For more information about visiting the Dead Sea in Israel, visit Explorer Travel’s website — http://www.redsea.explorertravel.co.uk/deadseaisrael.htm