The southern Jordan River
The southern Jordan River. Friends of the Earth reports a 98 percent reduction in flow. Photo by Yaron Kaminsky
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"A Star Is Born," Israel's version of "American Idol," will begin its joint venture with the Environmental Protection Ministry to raise awareness of environmental issues in about a week's time.

On Thursday, Haaretz revealed that the ministry will pay Channel 2 television franchisee Keshet NIS 1.2 million for public information clips embedded in "A Star Is Born." The budget for the deal will be taken from the ministry's cleanliness protection fund.

But Haaretz has learned that this campaign is only the beginning of an extensive program of cooperation between Keshet and the ministry. Sources at the Governmental Advertising Bureau, which made the match between the ministry and Keshet, said Thursday that the cooperation will extend to other shows and is expected to last about a year.

The clips that will run in "A Star Is Born" will feature some of the show's contenders and will promote messages about recycling, upkeep of beaches, saving energy and more. Keshet's Internet portal, Mako, will feature an additional campaign.

The program also has a partnership with the Jerusalem Municipality. According to the municipality's press office, Jerusalem has invested NIS 300,000 in the venture. In exchange, it will receive "exposure in the show's advertisements, ads on Keshet's days of broadcasting on Channel 2 for the tourism promotion campaign 'take two days for Jerusalem,' and ads for events taking place in Jerusalem during the summer." The show's final is also set to take place in Jerusalem.

The cleanliness fund is partly financed by drink manufacturers under the Bottle Deposit Law, and one of its major contributors is the Central Bottling Company Group, whose controlling shareholder is Muzi Wertheim. Wertheim also serves as Keshet's chairman of the board. But a Keshet spokeswoman denied that Wertheim is in any way involved in the content of "A Star Is Born."