Issa Kassissieh, wearing a Santa Claus costume, looks on as he poses for a picture while sitting next to a Christmas tree on a salt formation in the Dead Sea
Issa Kassissieh, wearing a Santa Claus costume, looks on as he poses for a picture while sitting next to a Christmas tree on a salt formation in the Dead Sea
Photo: Reuters
Issa Kassissieh, wearing a Santa Claus costume, looks on as he poses for a picture while sitting next to a Christmas tree on a salt formation in the Dead Sea

Swimming Santa brings Dead Sea to life with tree and cheer

Issa Kassissieh dresses up as Saint Nick for campaign by Tourism Ministry to bring some joy during a global pandemic that has kept Christian pilgrims away from the Holy Land

Reuters |
Published: 11.15.20 , 23:26
At the lowest point on earth, in the middle of a giant salt lake where animals and plants have no chance of surviving, a jolly man dressed in red with a flowing white beard stuck a Christmas tree in the ground and went for a swim.
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  • Santa Claus came to the Dead Sea on Sunday ahead of the Christmas season, part of a campaign by Israel’s Tourism Ministry to bring some Christmas cheer during a global pandemic that has kept Christian pilgrims away from the Holy Land.
    Issa Kassissieh, wearing a Santa Claus costume, looks on as he poses for a picture while sitting next to a Christmas tree on a salt formation in the Dead Sea Issa Kassissieh, wearing a Santa Claus costume, looks on as he poses for a picture while sitting next to a Christmas tree on a salt formation in the Dead Sea
    Issa Kassissieh, wearing a Santa Claus costume, looks on as he poses for a picture while sitting next to a Christmas tree on a salt formation in the Dead Sea
    (Photo: Reuters)
    He rode a paddleboard a few hundred meters offshore to a spot where salt has piled up in a massive mushroom shape, allowing him to stand in the middle of the otherwise much deeper lake.
    Issa Kassissieh, dressed as Santa Claus, waves next to a Christmas tree erected on a salt formation during filming for a Christmas greeting video from the Holy Land in the Dead Sea near Ein Bokeq, Israel Issa Kassissieh, dressed as Santa Claus, waves next to a Christmas tree erected on a salt formation during filming for a Christmas greeting video from the Holy Land in the Dead Sea near Ein Bokeq, Israel
    (Photo: AP)
    With pomp and circumstance he stuck a decorated Christmas tree in the salty bottom, struck a pose for cameras, and then enjoyed an effortless float in the Dead Sea’s famous, saline-rich waters.
    Beyond the compelling landscape, Christianity has roots in the Dead Sea, whose surroundings are abundant with remains of ancient Christian communities.
    Issa Kassissieh, dressed as Santa Claus, waves next to a Christmas tree erected on a salt formation during filming for a Christmas greeting video from the Holy Land in the Dead Sea near Ein Bokeq, Israel Issa Kassissieh, dressed as Santa Claus, waves next to a Christmas tree erected on a salt formation during filming for a Christmas greeting video from the Holy Land in the Dead Sea near Ein Bokeq, Israel
    Issa Kassissieh, dressed as Santa Claus, waves next to a Christmas tree erected on a salt formation during filming for a Christmas greeting video from the Holy Land in the Dead Sea near Ein Bokeq, Israel
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The Christmas tree, however, had no chance of surviving in the salty waters and Santa took it with him when he returned to shore.
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