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New York Resident Strikes Jackpot, Arriving As Tourist No. 2 Million

Setting a record for the number of visitors coming to Israel in any given year, the two millionth tourist to enter Israel in 1994 received a festive welcomed at Ben-Gurion Airport this week.

Marian Graves of Albany, N.Y., arrived on an El Al Airlines flight on Wednesday to find herself greeted by a welcoming committee that included Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Tourism Minister Uzi Baram.

Graves, a first-time visitor to Israel, received a check for $1,740 to cover her plane ticket and expenses during her stay in Israel.

“I’m so excited, thank you so much for the welcoming committee,” said Graves, who was accompanied on the trip by her husband.

Baram has spearheaded a tourism campaign aimed at reaping the benefits of the ongoing peace process by drawing an unprecedented number of tourists to the region.