JERUSALEM (Aug. 9)
Tourism Minister Moshe Kol denounced Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek today for a suggestion by the Mayor that tourists should be discouraged from visiting Jerusalem. The Mayor said, in a recent talk to the city’s Economic Club, that the city could not handle the rising number of tourists who spend time in Jerusalem during their Israeli tours. Kol said the Tourism Ministry would never agree to Kollek’s proposal.
Kol said he disagreed with Kollek’s suggestions for a tax on tourists or for a freeze on the number of hotel rooms being built in Jerusalem. Kol disputed an “intimation” from the Mayor that the Israeli government was building 4000 hotel rooms in the capital, declaring that “we are building only 1520 rooms, leas than half the number the Mayor mentioned.”
Citing an interview in the London Times in which Kollek reportedly reasserted his view that tourists should be dissuaded from visiting Jerusalem, Kol said hotel rates would rocket if hotel construction was slowed. Kol also rejected Kollek’s argument that new hotels necessarily would do harm to the capital aesthetically.