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Bill Would Prevent Palestinian Tour Guides

Bill Would Prevent Palestinian Tour Guides

(JTA) — A proposed Knesset bill would ban Arabs from eastern Jerusalem from serving as tour guides in the city.
The bill, proposed by Kadima Party lawmaker Gideon Ezra and sponsored by seven other Knesset members, proposes that guides leading groups of more than 11 or traveling in more than one vehicle be an Israeli citizen.
Most Arabs living in eastern Jerusalem have permanent residency status but not citizenship, according to Haaretz.
According to the bill, the Arab tour guides do not present the Israeli viewpoint.
The proposed bill reads that “Israel has valuable tourism sites. Oftentimes there are disagreements on the manner of the presentation of these sites historically, religiously, culturally and more. The city of Jerusalem, with its many historic sites, is an example of a site about which there are such disagreements. Some of the residents of Israel, like those in East Jerusalem, often have ‘dual loyalty,’ since they vote in elections of the Palestinian Authority.
“These residents often present anti-Israeli positions to groups of tourists that they guide. To ensure foreign tourists are exposed to the national Israeli viewpoint, we suggest ruling that travel agencies, and any organization providing tours for foreign tourists, ensure that the groups are accompanied by a tour guide who is an Israeli citizen and has institutional loyalty to the State of Israel.” Some 300 Palestinian tour guides are certified by Israel’s Tourism Ministry, according to Haaretz.

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