The IDF has warned the public not to rush to see it as the area is partially mined.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
A long and geologically unique river that was kept a close secret by the Dead Sea Works in whose concession area it lies was revealed to the public for the first time Monday in a report by Kan 11 News.
Over 10 kilometers in length, the river gushes all year long through white canyons 20 meters deep, cutting across the Judean desert towards the Dead Sea.
When contacted by reporter Oren Aharoni, the Southern Coordinator of nature protection for the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Shai Technai, was in shock at the discovery.
“I think that maybe you’ve ingested hallucinatory mushrooms,” Technai told him. “Are you sure that this is what you saw?”
According to Aharoni, the Parks Authority wasn’t the only organization that had no idea it existed. No green groups had ever heard of it, no tour guides have ever trod its length, and no government agency has ever examined its properties in depth – or overseen its protection.
“It’s like finding a new continent – but in Israel,” Aharoni reported.
“The place is laden with natural phenomena that are unique in the world,” he added.
The report stressed, however, that nature lovers should not start making plans to see the area, as it is extremely dangerous due to the presence of old minefields.
“There is a real danger to life to go there,” Aharoni said. The IDF and Ministery of Defense jumped in immediately, declaring on Tuesday that no one should enter the area due to the mines.
The main question the report raised is why the Dead Sea Works kept the river a secret. It raised the concern that the company’s factories may be doing work in the field that exceeds their permits or may be damaging geological and other formations.
The company is operating there, said Aharoni, “excavating roads, significantly damaging the canyon and causing destruction.”
The geologist and tour guide who revealed the river to the network, Lior Anmar, thinks the whole area is in danger.
“The place is being threatened,” he said Monday on the Kalman Liberman show. “You have to understand that there’s new information here that requires a revision of the [company’s] original work plans.”
The Nature and Parks Authority has already sent an urgent letter to the factories in the area, demanding that they stop working immediately.
The Environmental Protection Ministry reacted to the discovery by saying, “The ministry believes that it is appropriate to investigate and evaluate the [natural phenomena’s] environmental value before issuing additional building permits” for the projects currently underway there.