TEL AVIV (Mar. 20)
The Israeli Ministry of Tourism has invited a camera crew from South Africa’s government-run television to prepare a promotional film on tourist sites in Israel, Ha’aretz reported Monday.
The paper points out that this contravenes the 1987 Cabinet decision to reduce the scale of ties with South Africa, for which Israel has been roundly criticized.
The South African crew is now filming in Israel, but opposition from the Foreign Ministry has blocked producers from interviewing government officials.
The South African Jewish community has been regarded for many years as the most stalwart Zionist community of all Jewish communities in the Diaspora.
But in the past several years as racial problems have escalated in that country, emigrating Jews have chosen largely to settle in Australia or other countries.
The effort to lure South African visitors is apparently part of a global attempt by Israel to improve its lot as a tourist attraction, a major source of revenue that has been whittled away since the beginning of the Palestinian uprising.