Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian mayors, municipal representatives, adults and youth are planning to build rafts together, and then to “jump” into the Lower Jordan River next week, on August 15.
Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME), who are organizing the event, hope that it will send a clear, region-wide call to governments to step up efforts to rehabilitate the Lower Jordan River.
The European Big Jump for Living Rivers was held on July 11, with 250 official big jumps and 400 private jumps into rivers in 20 countries, in an effort to “reconcile” people with their rivers and generate support for restoration efforts for rivers and wetlands.
The idea is to encourage local citizens to take responsibility for their rivers and for governments to support their rehabilitation.
A recent FoEME study identified a regional strategy to rehabilitate the Jordan River. It is hoped that the Big Jump, to take place at Yardenit, just south of Deganya near the Sea of Galilee on the last short stretch of the Lower Jordan River where clean water still flows, will highlight the urgency of the situation.
Of the original 1.3 billion cubic meters of clean water that in the past flowed down the lower Jordan each year, only 30 million cubic meters currently flows and much of this flow is sewage and diverted saline spring water.
Transportation to the Big Jump is being provided, from and to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, by FoEME. The organizers recommend that participants pack a bathing suit and towel.