• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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Sea of Galilee Drying Up

The Independent reports on an environmental disaster in Galilee:

The waters of the Sea of Galilee are now at their lowest on record and, officials say, are set to fall even lower. The crisis is both natural and man-made…Attempts by the Israeli government to bring in strict restrictions on water usage would, analysts say, be politically suicidal with an election on the horizon. No party would be willing to put forward such proposals against the powerful farming lobby.

Unless something drastic is done, the lake risks over-salination and becoming unsustainable. Fish stocks are already very low.

Perhaps it’s just as well that Israeli lawyer Ron Major’s 1999 plan for the lake apparently never came to fruition:

The idea that struck Ron on Highway One was to build a submerged hydraulic platform in the Sea of Galilee which, from August, will allow visitors to walk on the water, in the footsteps of Jesus, for about 10 shekels (roughly pounds 1.50) a time…Major expects his “Walk on the Water Experience” will be able to carry 50 tourists at once.

Major got as far as building a temporary platform, which was used by Swedish pop singer Charlotte Nielsen as publicity for the Eurovision song contest, but there are no subsequent reports.

Bible scholar Jerome Murphy-O’Connor was unamused by the idea:

He said: “This is bloody ridiculous. It is an absurd theme park gimmick. I suppose some idiots would want to get themselves photographed walking on the water, but what kind of pilgrim would play this silly game?”

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