Members of Friends of the Earth hold ‘funeral’ for lowest place on earth after government rejects bill aimed at protecting lake

Yair Hasson
Published: 11.22.11, 07:53 / Israel Activism

The symbolic corpse of the Dead Sea was “laid to rest” outside the Knesset building in Jerusalem on Monday, about a week and a half after it lost its bid to become one of the New7Wonders of Nature.

The “funeral procession” was held in protest of the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs’ decision on Sunday to reject the Dead Sea Protection and Rehabilitation Bill.

צילום: גיל יוחנן

Dead Sea’s ‘funeral procession’ (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

Members of Friends of the Earth Middle East, who embarked on the funeral march dressed in black, say the bill is the Dead Sea’s last hope and that the government’s failure to support it deals a critical blow to the lake.

‘With deep sorrow and profound grief we regret to inform you of the untimely demise of the scarce Dead Sea,” the organization members wrote in an “obituary”.

The bill, formulated by Adam Teva V’Din – Israel Union for Environmental Defense, was submitted by Knesset Members Dov Khenin (Hadash), who also took part in the “burial”.

“In order to take advantage of the minerals in the Dead Sea waters, the franchiser set up evaporation ponds on dozens of square kilometers, within the Dead Sea area, by building shoreline sections around them.

“In order to maintain production, the water level in the ponds must be raised, and this requires raising the shoreline sections from time to time.

“Over the years, the franchiser’s work caused damage to the Dead Sea. The ongoing flooding of the southern lake on the one hand, and the dehydration of the northern lake on the other hand, cause a by-product in the form of salt to pile up at the bottom of the lake.

“This has far-reaching implications which could, if they are not fixed as soon as possible, become irreversible. During the production process carried out by the franchiser, the salt piling up at the bottom of the lake serves as industrial waste. The factory creating the waste should bear the cost of its clearance.”

Billie Frenkel contributed to this report.,7340,L-4151187,00.html