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Going Naked to Keep Dead Sea Alive


Not far from the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, a thousand Israelis gathered in the nude. But they weren’t planning a biblical orgy, and no one got turned into a pillar of salt. It was all about drawing attention to the Dead Sea, which is rapidly drying up.

I only just came upon this – it’s from last September, but it received little publicity and it remains relevant in that for the people who participated, it was largely about trying to protect the ecology of the region, which is increasingly in danger.

The event was organized as a photo shoot by artist Spencer Tunick, who specializes in mass photo shoots of this kind and choreographs them very carefully.

For this particular event, last September 17th, a thousand Israelis stripped off and dove into the Dead Sea to draw attention, not to themselves, but to the fact that the lake is rapidly drying up.

The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth and various projects have been aimed at reversing its shrinking water levels. These projects include the controversial Red–Dead Sea Conduit Project, a $15-billion plan by the World Bank to build a canal or tunnel that would link the Dead Sea with the Red Sea near Eilat in the southern tip of Israel. Ecological groups say that while this would refill the Dead Sea, it would also destroy its unique and fragile ecosystem.

One reason the Dead Sea is drying up is that it receives less and less water from the Jordan River, which is one of the sole sources of water for Israel and Palestine, and one that underlies the conflict between the two peoples.

Here are some of his photos from this particular shoot.