Attorney General Bars Israelis from Gambling at Jericho Casino

The recently opened gambling casino in Jericho could face a major shortage of customers if Israel’s attorney general has his way.

Elyakim Rubinstein determined this week that Israelis, the casino’s prime source of customers, should be barred from gambling there.

In his decision, he cited a regulation that authorizes local courts to try Israeli citizens for offenses committed in the Palestinian self-rule areas.

Gambling is illegal in Israel.

Public Security Minister Avigdor Kahalani said he was surprised by the attorney general’s position, but that police would enforce it if called upon to do so.

Kahalani said he believed that allowing Israelis to gamble in Jericho provided an opportunity for communication and bonding with the Palestinian people.

Dov Weisglass, the lawyer representing the Austrian state-run firm that built and operates the casino, said Israelis already gamble in Turkey, the Red Sea resort of Taba as well as at illegal gambling houses within Israel.

Weisglass said he hoped the attorney general would reverse his decision in light of what he called the oasis of “peace and friendship” operating in the West Bank town.

“The attorney general has the authority not to enforce the letter of the law” when it is considered in the public interest to do so, Weisglass told Israel Radio. “I hope he will use his judgment to let this [remain] a place of peace, cooperation and friendliness.”

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