The Dead Sea towards sunset
The Dead Sea towards sunset Israel news photo: Hana Levi Julian

Men and women who prefer to swim separately will now be able to do so at a special beach in the lowest place on earth.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai officially dedicated a separate swimming beach Monday at the Dead Sea – the first one ever to be established in the popular resort area.

The beach is intended to allow the religious public to enjoy an important natural resource, as the rest of the Israeli public does, a ministry statement said.

Attending the ceremony was Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger and Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, among others.

Rabbi Shimon Elharar, the Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to the Dead Sea, was also at the ceremony. Eharar told Arutz Sheva in an interview Monday afternoon that he personally had been around to watch the beach take shape. “Truckloads upon truckloads of beautiful sand has been arriving at the site for months,” he said. “There are wonderful new showers and other facilities. Also, the government has raised the level of the beach to ensure that for the next 10 years, no one will have to worry about damage to the beach from the rising salt level.

“It's a real sanctification of G-d's name,” he said. “We find ourselves in the Holy Land, in the very palace of the King Himself, and it is beautiful that Israel has built a beach to promote modesty, holiness and purity in the Holy Land. It is also interesting that it was created in the lowest place on earth, he added, "right next to the entrance of Sodom!"

In a more positive light, Elharar added, the beach is a "beautiful gift to present to the Holy One for the New Year from the lowest place on the planet!"

The Tourism Ministry is working intensively on its campaign to promote the Dead Sea as one of the "New 7 Wonders of Nature." The international campaign wraps up in just two more months, and the Dead Sea is a finalist in the competition, which is seen as a major source of resources to help repair the environmental damage to the area.

This month Israelis are being asked to choose the "Seven Wonders of Israel" in a mini-campaign within the country, sponsored jointly between the Tourism Ministry and Channel 2 -- a competition which includes the Dead Sea as one of its sites.

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