A new campaign calls on the Israeli government to repair a dangerous highway that has claimed the lives of 17 people within the last month alone.
On Thursday, six local council heads sent a letter urging Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) to refurbish Route 90 adjoining the Dead Sea following a series of grisly accidents.
The municipality heads demand that Route 90 be expanded, with more insections, a concrete divider between the two sides and more lighting and speed cameras.
"The State of Israel - and the ministry you lead - must wake up, preferably before the next disaster, which experience shows is only a matter of time," read the missive. "Residents in the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, and the Arava region deserve road safety just like everywhere else In Israel, and it is inconceivable that the 'highway of blood' is not dealt with."
Jordan Valley Regional Council head David Lahiani added that "for a long time we have been seeing and warning a significant increase in the number of vehicles on Route 90, and accordingly, a sharp increase in the number of road accidents. The Minister of Transportation must address this issue and provide a response."
The appeal was signed by the heads of the municipalities abutting Route 90, including the Megillot Regional Council, the Emek Hama'aanot Council, and the elected representatives of the Dead Sea and Arava region.
The winding and poorly-illuminated Route 90 has been the scene of a series of gruesome accidents. On Sunday, six Arab laborers from East Jerusalem were killed after a head-on collision with a truck.
Last Tuesday, eight people, including two adults and six children, were killed in a fatal head-on collision between two private vehicles on Route 90.
The eight victims were later identified as members of the Atar family, residents of Psagot, north of Jerusalem. The victims included Yariv, 45 and his wife Shoshi, 47; Yaakov Yisrael, 12; Ateret, 11; Ayala, 9; Moria, 7; Yedid, 5; and Avigail, 3.
In addition, a man in his 30s and a woman in her 20s, and their baby daughter were killed in October in a serious car accident between a bus and a private car on Route 90 near the Neot Hakikar junction at the southern part of the Dead Sea.