Efi Stenzler, Silvan Shalom, Eli Aflalo 370.
(photo credit: JINI Photo Agency)
Development of the proposed Red Sea-Dead Sea conduit will occur under the joint
administration of the State of Israel and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish
National Fund, leaders from both parties announced on Tuesday.
Water Minister Silvan Shalom, KKL-JNF chairman Efi Stenzler and presidents of
JNF chapters from all over the world agreed to the joint pursuit of this
enormous project at the KKL-JNF World Leadership Conference, which has been
taking place all week in Jerusalem.
The World Leadership Conference,
which occurs every two years, brings together KKL-JNF leaders from all over the
world to focus on achieving sustainability for generations to come.
the World Bank has determined that the 180-kilometer pipeline project to
replenish the dwindling Dead Sea with Red Sea water is feasible, there has been
heavy opposition to the plan from environmental groups. Not only will the
project be highly energy intensive, but green organizations also fear that the
influx of seawater will cause changes to the unique composition and appearance
of the Dead Sea.
After months of examining various options, however,
KKLJNF teams decided that the Red-Dead Canal is the ideal vision for generating
growth in the Negev, replenishing the Dead Sea and catalyzing cooperation with
the Jordanians, who would play a critical role in the project’s
Stenzler said he was confident that the joint plan of KKLJNF
and the government to move forward with the Red- Dead conduit would be a
success, as “KKL-JNF knows how to harness the entire Jewish people to
On the previous day of the conference, the
participants also discussed cross-border environmental cooperation, particularly
looking at collaborations on forestry and water.
“Due to climate changes,
many countries are facing challenges similar to those of Israel, which has made
KKLJNF’s knowledge more relevant than ever,” said David Brand, chief forester of
“Together with the KKL-JNF representatives in different
countries, we can promote international collaborations. This can
contribute a great deal to the image of Israel as well as to the involvement of
the younger generation in KKLJNF’s work.”
Suhail Zeidan, director of
groves and grazing in the KKLJNF forestry department, stressed how important
cooperation between KKL-JNF and the Palestinian Authority remains concerning
forestry and wild land management. In the past two years, he explained, there
have been numerous joint workshops on afforestation as well as fire
“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
Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz, meanwhile, praised
KKL-JNF for embodying one of his most reiterated mottos – “One cannot separate
environment justice and social justice.”
Characterizing the KKL-JNF
leaders as being among “the first green activists,” he stressed the importance
of continuing to develop the land while maintaining environmental
“Our country has changed its appearance and its landscapes
thanks to the sustainable management of the land and of the water, much of which
has been done by KKL-JNF,” Peretz said.