Red-Dead Moves Forward Over Environmental Opposition

YERUSHALAYIM -

A project to replenish the Dead Sea with Red Sea water has been announced by the state of Israel and the Jewish National Fund, despite the strong opposition of environmental groups, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The decision came after the 180-kilometer pipeline to bring water into the dwindling Dead Sea passed a World Bank feasibility assessment. The project also envisages cooperation with the Jordanians, who would play an important role.

However, environmental groups object that the influx of seawater will permanently alter the unique composition and appearance of the Dead Sea.

Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom, JNF chairman Efi Stenzler and presidents of JNF chapters from abroad agreed to back the project at a conference in Yerushalayim this week.

On another environmental issue, Suhail Zeidan, director of groves and grazing in the JNF forestry department, stressed the importance of cooperation between JNF and the Palestinian Authority in forestry and wild land management. In the past two years, he said, there have been numerous joint workshops on afforestation as well as fire prevention.

“As a result of this cooperation, we hope to see progress in the PA with regard to runoff water harvesting in the desert, the creation of community forests, the improvement of grazing areas, the preservation of nature and biodiversity and the establishment of improvement areas and a gene bank.”