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Arab tourism to Israel still hampered by politics and Palestine

Tonindigo festival The seaside near the southern foot of Egypt’s Sinai peninsula sounds joyful. Its organizers promised five days of “psychedelic music, sun and sea” in an atmosphere of peace and love. However, the festival has proven controversial, mainly because the show is hosted by Israelis. The Egyptian branch of the global movement to boycott and divest from Israel has denounced the organizers as “racist Zionist occupiers”. The festival was canceled following recent clashes between Israeli police and young Palestinians near the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Israeli-Arab tourism remains affected by political and Palestinian tensions.

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Similar carnivals on the southern coast of the Sinai peninsula, a short distance from Israel’s border crossing at Taba, are becoming increasingly popular with Israelis, partly because they are cheaper than they are in Israel. Nearly 700,000 Israelis visited southern Sinai last year. Tourists from Cairo and Tel Aviv happily pass by dive centers and beach resorts on the Red Sea. Some local Egyptian businesses advertise their wares in Hebrew and receive payment in Israeli shekels.tourists can buy Ton– Shirts that say “I love Dahab” in Hebrew, one of the most popular spots.

However, some Egyptians are not so keen. Last year, many people were fed up with the photos of the Israeli flag on the beach during the Hashmaliko festival. Anti-Israel Twitter users in Egypt raged at two other shows during the week their compatriots celebrated Sinai’s Liberation Day, which marked the end of Israel’s occupation of the peninsula in 1982. Efforts by organizers to promote events such as building a peaceful bridge between the two cultures have failed — not least because Egyptians are generally not allowed to buy tickets.

Few Arabs across the region seem interested in seaside friendliness. The Israeli tourism industry hopes that the 2020 Abraham Accords will formalize the normalization of relations between Israel and Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates (United Arab Emirates), would lead to an influx of vacationing Arabs keen to visit the Holy Land. It didn’t happen.

One reason is the continuing anger of the Arabs against the Palestinians. Most Egyptians resent the 1979 peace treaty with Israel. Polls show that the proportion of Emiratis who view the Abraham Accords positively has fallen from 47% when it was signed to 25% at the last count.

Still, the deals encourage Israelis to travel to the Gulf.150,000 people visited last year United Arab Emirates. Some people had the opportunity to visit Bahrain for the first time. But Israeli tourism to Egypt outside the Sinai Peninsula has yet to take off. Last year, only 45,000 Israelis flew directly to Cairo.

Fewer Arabs visit Israel as tourists.from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and United Arab Emirates, providing the majority of Arab tourists, only 26,400 compared to 2.7 million from the rest of the world; 5,100 were Egyptian and 1,600 were Emirati. Israel’s tourism ministry said the Bahrainis were “too few in number”.

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