The lowest point on Earth is also the site of one of the world's greatest treasures and an amazing place to visit when you are in the Holy Land. However, even more than that, it's also set to (potentially) become one of the seven new wonders of the natural world. What is it you ask? Why the Dead Sea of course.
The Dead Sea is one of the most unique places in the world. In essence, it is a heavy salt sea where you don't go swimming, but instead, you simply go and float in the water. Even if you don't know how to keep yourself aloft, you'll be able to do so in the Dead Sea because of the unique properties of the water. The water is heavily concentrated with salt, so much that when you go into the water you would actually float on a river of salt.
For obvious reasons however, you should be sure to protect your eyes. In fact, the properties of the Dead Sea are related to a Jewish tradition which illustrates how people felt about the Dead Sea thousands of years ago at the time of Jesus and before. Some Orthodox Jews practice an ancient tradition to wash their hands after a meal; the tradition is called "Mayim Achronim," literally, the "after waters." The primary reason for the tradition was because most of the salt in Israel came from the Dead Sea and since it was so strong, if you got some in your eyes, it could cause damage to the cornea.
Now what about this business of it being a new wonder of the world? Well the New 7 Wonders organization is holding a competition online to decide what the world's most unique seven natural wonders will be. The Dead Sea is one of the finalists and is actually a fairly unique entry, even in a competition dedicated to unique things.
The reason why it's considered so unique (besides the obvious) is that it is an entry directly born of the peace process between Israel and her Arab neighbors. The New 7 Wonders competition requires national governments to put forward applications for places located within their borders. In the case of the Dead Sea, it has three distinct borders. The first of course is right here in Israel. The second one is in Jordan and the third is in the Palestinian Authority. The two countries of Israel and Jordan and the country-in-waiting (for lack of a better term) of Palestine all had to work together to make the entry a reality, making the Dead Sea a true symbol of peace in the Holy Land.
So next time you visit Israel, drop by and take a float in the Dead Sea. And while you're at it, visit the New 7 Wonders competition and vote for peace and Israel: