JERUSALEM (Jun. 18)
The Mediterranean-Dead Sea canal, a hydro-electric project enthusiastically backed by the former Likud-led government, is dead. The Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure concluded last week that it was no longer feasible, due in large measure to lack of funds, and ordered a halt to preliminary work which has already cost some $15 million.
The original idea was to use the more than 1,000 foot drop from sea level to the Dead Sea to generate electric power. The canal was supposed to revolutionize Israel’s energy systems. On that basis, the Israel Bonds Organization raised substantial funds overseas.
But Israel’s economic crisis overwhelmed the plans. The $15 million spent was for an exploratory tunnel in connection with a proposed power station. The study required an additional $2 million which the Energy Ministry, subject to new budgetary constraints, refused to invest. Premier Shimon Peres has suggested that the monies be diverted to the development of two new technological zones, one in Galilee and the other in the Negev.