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Israeli sites nominated as natural wonders

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Three Israeli sites are in the running to be among the new Seven Wonders of Nature.

The sites were nominated and will be decided by a global vote on the internet at www.new7wonders.com.

As of Tuesday, the Dead Sea was in 38th place, the Ein Gedi oasis was in 97th place and the Rosh Hanikra rock formation was in 168th place.

Voting will continue through Dec. 31, with the top 21 candidates announced in January and advancing to the next stage of voting. The winners will be announced in the summer of 2010.

The contest follows one to name the new Seven Wonders of the World, which was announced last July.

“While we are happy that people came together to honor and celebrate our cultural heritage, the most important thing is that people from all continents came together in peace to do something at all,” said Stephanie McNamara, a spokeswoman for New7wonders, the nonprofit organization running the contest. “We are committed to fostering intercultural dialogue, striving for mutual appreciation.”

The Dead Sea is listed as being located in Israel/Jordan/Palestinian Territory, Occupied. McNamara told JTA that New7wonders used the official United Nations designation to identify the lake’s location and has not listed any complaints about the identification.

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