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baptism site pollution-free

Officials: Qasr al-Yahud baptismal site safe for bathing

Jul 28, 2010

Despite recent claims of pollution, test results show waters of Qasr al-Yahud baptismal site - where Jesus is believed to have been baptized – safe for bathing.

A Civil Administration spokesman announced Tuesday that tests performed in the Qasr al-Yahud baptismal site show its waters are safe for bathing.

The tests, examining the level of pollution in the Jordan River's waters, were performed following claims of pollution and existence of fecal bacteria originating from the sewage pipe. Many of the tourists and pilgrims who frequented Christianity's third most sacred site started visiting the Jordanian side of the river following the claims, resulting in a drop in tourism in the area.

The test results indicate that the level of fecal bacteria in the site's waters meets the Health Ministry's standard. The Civil Administration and Nature and Parks Authority, which operates Qasr al-Yahud, hold routine tests every three months to assure the site is safe for bathing.

Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov welcomed the news and said, "The Tourism Ministry is extremely concerned about providing tourists with a feeling of safety and is making great efforts to provide them with the best experience in the hopes they will serve as our ambassadors in the world."

The site, which is frequented by more than 100,000 tourists a year, is currently undergoing renovation and millions of shekels are being invested in making it more accessible to the public.

The Civil Administration, Nature and Parks Authority and Tourism Ministry will continue monitoring the results of the routine tests to guarantee the visitors' safety.

Officials: Qasr al-Yahud baptismal site safe for bathing
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