The Dead Sea is among the top 10 finalists in the international New 7 Wonders of Nature campaign, which will conclude on Friday 11.11.2011 at 11:11 Zurich time (13:11 Israel time), the contest organizers announced on Sunday.
Joining the shared Israeli- Palestinian-Jordanian contestant in the leading group are the Grand Canyon (United States), the Great Barrier Reef (Australia), Halong Bay (Vietnam), Jeita Grotto (Lebanon), Jeju Island (Korea), Komodo Island (Indonesia), Puerto Princess Underground River (the Philippines), Sundarbans (Bangladesh and India) and Mount Vesuvius (Italy).
Thus far, the government has spent millions of shekels propelling a PR battle to secure a winning spot in the contest, which the Tourism Ministry says will bring a significant boost in visitors to the Dead Sea area and to Israel in general.
“We are closer than ever to victory, but we must remember that we are not there yet and everything can still change,” said Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov in a statement.
“We must not be apathetic. Instead, we must continue to vote for the Dead Sea in full force, both in Israel and around the world. A win for the Dead Sea would mean hundreds of thousands of more tourists to the region every year, thousands of more job opportunities and an improvement in Israel’s image overseas as an attractive tourism destination.”
Wide-scale PR efforts began with a comprehensive marketing campaign of NIS 8.75 million that was launched in May. Of the total – NIS 3.5 million of which came from the Tourism Ministry and NIS 2 million from the Prime Minister’s Office – NIS 7.25 million were slated for promoting the subject abroad and NIS 1.5 for use in Israel.
In mid-October, Meseznikov launched an electronic countdown clock reflected off the top of Tel Aviv’s Crown Plaza City Center building. Just over a week later, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar greeted students on their computer screens in a nationwide virtual classroom with a live lecture by Dr. Hanan Ginat, science director of the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center and a lecturer at the Arava Institute.
The group responsible for the international campaign, the Zurich-based New7Wonders Foundation, previously held a similar New 7 Wonders of the World campaign that concluded on July 7, 2007, which involved over 100 million voters and in which Petra, Jordan, was one of the winners.
While the top seven places in the current New 7 Wonders of Nature contest are still far from secure, the New7Wonders Foundation stressed that Asian countries seem to be performing particularly well.
“Clearly, Asian finalists are strong at this stage, reflecting the way the world is evolving east, and at the same time, I know the actual top seven will change in the coming days,” said president and founder of the New7Wonders Foundation, Bernard Weber, in a statement.
“We remain excited and intrigued to see who will emerge as the provisional New7Wonders of Nature on 11/11/11.”
The UK is making a bid to leverage investment in Israeli tech start-ups. Ambassador Matthew Gould has launched a Tech Hub in Tel Aviv. This endeavor will foster the growth of Israeli companies in their nascence and connect them to markets in London.
Israel has made a name for itself in recent years for its innovation in emerging fields such as biotech, telecommunications and cleantech. In the book “Start-up Nation,” Dan Senor and Saul Singer discuss how “Israel has beaten the odds to become a major player in the global business world, especially in the technology sector.” They explain that the country has achieved this “economic miracle” notwithstanding its decades-long regional conflict and lack of natural resources. And entrepreneurs there are just getting started.
Many of Israel’s innovations have benefited the environment while building profit, which is of great interest to investors and supporters of green technology.
For example, Israel pioneered a type of drip irrigation technology that is widely used throughout the world. This system dramatically reduces the water needed for crops by slowly releasing “drips” in amounts plants can accumulate.
Another important recent development is Orion Solar’s (now known as 3GSolar) nanotechnology solar panels. Unlike current solar panels, 3GSolar’s version uses nano-sized cells, coated with an organic dye engineered to react when hit by sunlight. The process could generate energy more efficiently and cost-effectively than conventional systems.
Israeli drama series about four friends living in abandoned buses on property worth millions bought by John Wells Productions, which is currently based at Warner Bros. studios
How do you say ‘Asfur’ in English? The Israeli drama series has been sold to a production company in the United States.
John Wells Productions, which is currently based at Warner Bros. studios, has bought the rights to the program and is expected to begin the American adaptation soon. This is the first time an Israeli series is sold to a production company rather than to a television channel.
The program is slated to be broadcast on one of the Warner channels, and the final goal is to sell it to additional networks worldwide.