Rubbing Salt Into the Wound

If the Dead Sea had actually been chosen as one of the seven finalists, attention would have been directed to the sea, its shrinking state, and us.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet colleagues haven't lifted a finger to save the Dead Sea. But they couldn't keep their hands off their cell phones in a bid to vote, by text message, for the spot as one of the world's seven natural wonders, and to get people around the world to support its selection.

After all the public relations efforts over the past two years in their campaign, let's hope the cabinet doesn't look back and, like Lot's wife, turn into a pillar of salt. Yet again Netanyahu has discovered that public relations isn't everything. You actually have to do something, too. When it comes to peace, for example, you have to act and not just send text messages.

Dead Sea - Gil Cohen-Magen - 10.11.2011
Gil Cohen-Magen

They tell a story about Henry Kissinger's first trip to the Holy Land. As he crossed the Jordan River by helicopter, a member of his entourage drew his attention to the sight below. Kissinger seemed disappointed and said dryly that if the Jordan had not enjoyed thousands of years of outstanding public relations, its sad appearance would be impossible to explain.

I read in the newspapers that next week the Kinneret College is sponsoring an emergency conference on how to save the southern stretch of the Jordan River. Some people say the whole world is against us? It's actually all for us. Imagine the embarrassment if the Dead Sea had actually been chosen as one of the seven finalists. The attention would have been directed to the sea, in its shrinking state, and to us.

We have been spared a lecture about our abuse of a wonder of the world, which from here on would have belonged to everyone. I'm sure even UNESCO would have taken us to task. Our loss in the vote is not so horrible, however. What's important is that we've put the shrinking Dead Sea on the map. Soon that's the only place it will be.