Underwatertimes.com News Service - May 12, 2009 15:53 EST

Zalul, a leading Israeli Non-Governmental Organization devoted to protecting Israel's seas and rivers, has undertaken the mission of saving the Jordan River, a historic Christian waterway now contaminated by modern-day pollutants. Zalul is demanding that the polluted wastewater entering the river be replaced with clean water. The organization possesses an excellent track record for bringing about change and renewal to the rivers of Israel and has sworn that it will not turn away until its vision is complete. In addition to a campaign to raise needed funds for stopping the pollution, the organization is calling upon the Pope and other world leaders to speak out against the desecration of the Jordan River.

With the establishment of the State of Israel (1947-48) followed by the National Water Carrier of Israel Project (construction began in 1953), water was taken from the Sea of the Galilee and a dam was built to block water from flowing to the Jordan River. The result was immediate: The Jordan River began to slowly die and the water level in the Dead Sea began to drop. Instead of fresh water flowing into the River, today the Southern Jordan consists of polluted wastewater. As another part of its Jordan River campaign, Zalul is demanding the removal of polluters along the entire length of the river.

In a letter to Pope Benedict XVI preceding his current trip to Israel, the organization writes:

"Most Holy Father, as you know, the Jordan River is held in the highest regard by Christians, Jews and Muslims all over the world. Every year thousands of pilgrims visit the river to bathe in its holy waters, water that has been contaminated for years. Those who visit the southern Jordan at sites like Qasar el Yehud risk their own health when entering the water. Your Holiness, all of the Jordan River's visitors should have the right to be baptized in water that is natural and true. As a world leader and man of great faith, we ask you to help us in our goal to rescue the Jordan River and return it to its biblical beauty."

Yariv Abramovich, Zalul's Executive Director explains: "Many Christians have saved money their entire lives in order to travel to Israel, immerse in these holy waters and be baptized, following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ," said Yariv Abramovich, Zalul's Executive Director. "We aim not only to preserve this incredibly meaningful and historical site, but to recover it. The pollution in this region is devastating, but this is one type of 'peace in the Middle East' that we can restore sooner rather than later, with the right support from individuals who see the importance of our mission and are passionate about our campaign."

Zalul has launched a web site devoted to the Jordan River campaign for those who are interested in supporting the cause. For more information and to contribute to Zalul's efforts, visit www.savethejordan.org.