Students from North Rhine, Westphalia studying at Summer School Tel Aviv University made a surprise visit to Tamar Regional Council this month. A tour of the region giving insight to the plight of the residents of the area.

A group of young students from the state North Rhine - Westphalia visited Tamar Regional Council this month.  The students are on a summer school programme in co-operation with the Tel Aviv University.  The area is of vital importance to the national economy as it is the most important industrial area with principal mining and energy-producing industries.  Coal mines and Petroleum refineries have throughout many years been the main source of employment and income for the area but the mines have now been closed down and are no longer productive which has required the inhabitants to transform their livelihoods to alternative industries.  This transformation is something similar to the Dead Sea regions problems - the sinkholes have destoyed quite a few tourism sites (of which the locals relied on for employment and community income).  The focus of the visit was the comparison of the difficulties, who it affects and what efforts are being made to cope.  The climate and of course the impact on the environment have had a major part to play in this desert region whilst technology, health and environment are the key factors in the changes in Westphalia.  

The group spent time at the Ein Gedi Botanical Gardens, with a visit to the Dead Sea Institute at Masada and a visit to the Dead Sea at Ein Bokek.  

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