Oct 17 2009

Israelis voting with their feet and their credit cards

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 8:43 am

‘No Israelis want to fly to Turkey now’

With a new wave of anti-Israel sentiment in Turkey, and a furious response in Israel, the once-booming tourism trade between the countries is already feeling the effects.

“I can’t sell a Turkish Air ticket going via Istanbul,” Mark Feldman, CEO of Zion Tours, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. Istanbul is a common stop-over point on the way to many other destinations.

“Nobody, but nobody, wishes to fly there… packages are very cheap, the airline is a good airline… [but] people are voting with their feet,” Feldman said.

Relations with Turkey have recently been strained, due to Turkey’s withdrawal from an international military exercise involving Israel, a series of verbal assaults from Turkish leaders, and the premiere of a new television series portraying IDF soldiers as murderers. The first episode of the series aired in Turkey on Tuesday evening and depicted IDF soldiers in the West Bank killing a baby and a young girl, and lining up Palestinians to be shot before a firing squad.

According to Feldman, “This [tourism decline] is getting intensified, and the television series will accelerate it. I expect this [Israeli tourist] boycott and this anger to last throughout the fall and winter.”

Turkey is generally the second most popular destination for Israeli tourists, ranking only after the United States. More than half a million Israelis visited Turkey last year. Tourists from Israel ranked 10th in the number of entries to Turkey and made up 2.49 percent of all tourists to the country, Ynet reported in 2008.

Its proximity, luxury resorts, cultural and historical attractions, and the number of affordable trips available make Turkey an appealing destination for Israelis.

Until now, that is. 

Of course, this sort of thing doesn’t affect rich Hollywood types, for whom condemnations of the USA by the likes of Venezuela and Cuba makes those places MORE attractive as vacation spots…  along with photo-ops with heads of state, of course.

Unlike the Hollywood Left (now there’s a redundant phrase), Israelis actually react negatively when their nation is accused of murder.  Now doubt Turkish TV producers are influenced by watching Hollywood-produced, US-bashing films, and just wanted to get in on the action.

What a lovely thought for an Israeli family to take their kids to a Turkish resort, and on the TV in the hotel room they could watch a nice new Turkish TV series about sadistic IDF soldiers.