Following Naked Dead Sea – Would You Strip for the Jordan River?

spencer tunick photos Israel dead seaSpencer Tunick briefing naked participants prior to a photo shoot. Can the Naked Sea stunt be done to save the Jordan River as well?

The momentous event staged at the Dead Sea  by American photographic art producer Spencer Tunick at the Lowest Point on earth is now over ; and those who participated in this historical event, including Alex Gutman, who contributed his personal account of “getting naked” for it, have gone away with a feeling that they participated in an exceptional event.

naked dead seaAn earlier Dead Sea art shot by Sigalit Landau

For his part, Tunick, himself Jewish and originating from an Orthodox Jewish family, admired Israelis for being so willing to participate, despite so many objections from religious Jews in Israel who lambasted the event by comparing it to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible. Prior to the actual “immersion” Tunick said:

“In some places this work is a little bit more controversial, and then in other places the works are accepted as a litmus test for how free a country is, or how open a country is, and how full of rights a country is.”

But now that the event is over, the real “litmus test” will be what is done to save this body of water that has been nominated for designation as one of the World’s Seven New Natural Wonders .

naked dead sea photo“Up front and personal” at LJR’s source

The Dead Sea, which is still one of Israel’s most popular tourist attractions,  is unfortunately shrinking at the rate of one meter (39 inches) a year, and could be almost non –existent by the year 2050. The world’s lowest and saltiest lake is mostly fed by the inflow from the Lower Jordan River (LJR), itself a mere trickle of its former self; and occasional run-offs from flash floods that occur during the winter rainy season.

I was fortunate to participate along with Green Prophet Editor Karin Kloosterman (see left) in a media tour of the Lower Jordan, in May, 2010 . The tour, sponsored by the NGO Friends of the Earth Middle East ((FOEME) and led by Israel Director Gideon Bromberg, gave participants a real glimpse of the current state of a stream that has been so much mentioned since Biblical times. The real eye-opener of the tour was an “up-front and personal” view of the “source” of the Lower Jordan: a saline and raw sewage runoff from the actual Jordan River, from which most of its water has been diverted for human and agricultural use.

Bring on more naked Israelis!

Unless some adverse repercussions from non-accepting elements in Israel and elsewhere in the region prevent this from happening, Spencer Tunick might consider staging yet another nude happening event in some other location, such as the Mediterranean beachfront (to bring attention to the plight of this body of water), the Sea of Galilee, or elsewhere.

Staging a similar event at the Lower Jordan might be a bit more problematic, due to the religious sensitivity of the location. But the reason for doing so is as urgent as the Dead Sea one since the Lower Jordan itself could dry up if one of its main sources, the sewage inflow, is itself diverted for reclamation by sewage treatment plant being constructed nearby.

Judging from the current view of the Lower Jordan’s current state of purity, it would not be advisable for people to swim naked or otherwise there however. Maybe just posing there, au natural, would be enough to make a point about the stream’s ecological plight.

Read more on issues involving the Dead Sea and Lower Jordan River:
Time Running Out for Saving Dead Sea Hotels
Despite Everything, Shrinking Dead Sea is a Popular Tourist Attraction
That “Sinking Feeling”: Dead Sea Sinkhole Swallows Student
Protect the Middle East’s Natural Wonders: Vote Today
Unholy Waters: The Lower Jordan River is Nearly Dead


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