(JNS.org) As thousands of Israelis prepare to enjoy the Sukkot holiday at Israel’s Sea of Galilee, also known as the Kinneret, Israel’s Water Authority has warned that the country’s largest freshwater lake is critically low and in danger of reaching its “lowest [water] level ever recorded.”
The Sea of Galilee is currently 703 feet below sea level, just a few feet above the historical low of 705 below sea level measured in 2001—beneath the water source’s so-called “black line.” When water levels in the Kinneret cross below the black line, severe ecological complications can irreversibly contaminate the water and disrupt the lake’s fragile ecosystem.
The situation in the Kinneret has deteriorated in recent years, as Israel’s north faces an ongoing drought. Israel has substantially invested in water conservation, reclamation and desalination technology, allowing the Jewish state to significantly reduce its use of water from the Sea of Galilee.
Nevertheless, the lack of water flow into the lake has led to deep concern over its vitality, as the drop in water levels causes the salinity of the lake to rise, threatening marine life.
The Sea of Galilee has played a prominent role in both Jewish and Christian history, with much of Jesus’s early ministry centered around the shores of the lake, according to the Christian Gospels.