The Dead Sea was not among the winners in the New7Wonders of Nature contest
despite a high profile campaign by the Israeli government, according to a list
of provisional results released at about 9:30 p.m. on Friday.
winners, were the Amazon of South America, Halong Bay of Vietnam, Iguazu Falls
of Argentina and Brazil, Jeju Island of South Korea, Komodo of Indonesia, Puerto
Princesa Underground River of the Philippines and Table Mountain of South
Dead Sea in top 10 as new 7 Wonders vote nears end
A region puts in its all for Dead Sea
“It is possible that there will be changes between the above
provisional winners and the eventual finally confirmed winners,” the official
competition website said. “The voting calculation is now being checked,
validated and independently verified, and the confirmed winners will be
announced starting early 2012 during the official inauguration ceremonies.”
People voted online and via text message.
As of Sunday, the Dead Sea,
representing Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, had been trending
among the top 10 finalists, and by earlier on Friday, the contest officials had
announced that it was among the top 14 after voting had concluded.
would like to thank all who have assisted and voted for the Dead Sea,” said
Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov. “Though we did not win the title, thanks to
the impressive campaign led by the Ministry of Tourism over the last two years,
hundreds of millions of people worldwide have now been exposed to the Dead Sea
and Israel, and placed their vote. This is a true victory for Israel’s image
abroad, the fruits of which we will see in the next few years in the investment,
rehabilitation and development of the Dead Sea.”
The Tourism Ministry led
a comprehensive public relations campaign to popularize the Dead Sea, and in
May, the cabinet approved a NIS 8.75 marketing budget to further spread the word
about the vote. In mid-October Meseznikov launched a countdown clock to
the contest’s end on the top of the Tel Aviv Crown Plaza City Center, and about
a week later, the education minister and prime minister hosted a virtual
classroom about the Dead Sea for students nationwide.
“Tourism is one of
the most important means of development in Israel and the positive exposure
received by the Dead Sea and Israel in general, is a true victory for us all,
and which will dramatically increase tourism, promote economic growth and
development in the region as well as new employment opportunities and revenue
for the Israeli economy,” Meseznikov added.
Dov Litvinoff, mayor of the
Tamar Regional Council, the southern of the two councils that border on the Dead
Sea, expressed his disappointment in the loss.
“I’m disappointed because
we were so close,” Litvinoff told The Jerusalem Post
on Friday night.
were just in the 14, but also we are very proud of our Dead Sea and the place
that we got after four years of campaigns and 400 nominees. We are among the 14,
so I think it’s a great achievement for the place. I think this campaign we had
here did a lot of good for the Dead Sea. Of course we are disappointed but we
are also proud.”
The day before, Litvinoff had told the Post
that he was
afraid a loss would push the Dead Sea backward in the government’s list of
“I’m still afraid that if we’re not one of the seven wonders
and we don’t have the stamp of the world… we will be forgotten,” he said Friday
night. “Every day you have new problems in Israel, you have new challenges that
you have to confront, and I am afraid that the Dead Sea will be forgotten again.
But I’m sure that if it depends on me... we will not let anybody forget the Dead
Knesset members that had been involved with promoting the
Dead Sea’s cause stressed that Israelis must continue to fight for the salty
body despite the loss.
“Precisely because it didn’t win, we must restore
the Dead Sea and preserve its status as a world wonder of nature,” said MK
Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz). “We urgently need to deal with the dropping level in
the northern basin as a result of dehydration and over-pumping, and rapidly
performing the harvest of salt in the southern basin. If the government does not
do this and continues to bury its head in the sand, the Dead Sea will gradually
MK Dov Henin (Hadash) agreed.
“The Dead Sea is still
one of the wonders of the world,” said Henin, who serves as chairman of the
Knesset Committee of Environment and Health. “We always knew this and the whole
world will also recognize this. We have a big responsibility – the sea is in a
severe condition of dehydration, deterioration and destruction.
test is on the Dead Sea, and will face the government on Sunday. It is very easy
to impose on the public responsibility to send an SMS, but it is a bit harder to
take real responsibility and act in defense of the Dead Sea and for its
rehabilitation. Our comprehensive bill, which produces real mechanisms of
the defense of the Dead Sea, is an opportunity that we cannot
Henin was referring to a bill that is coming to the cabinet for a
vote on Sunday that he had previously submitted to the Knesset, which would
provide for the future protection and rehabilitation of the Dead Sea. Green
group Israel Union for Environmental Defense (Adam Teva V’Din), which was
responsible for drafting the bill, also emphasized just how important passing
the bill is.
“Even without the title,” Israel must work toward protecting
the sea, according to a statement from Na’ama Heller, legal director of the
“The region of the Dead Sea is in a state of continuous
deterioration and if we don’t stop this dangerous process, we will lose this
wonderful treasure of nature,” she said.