A television segment on the Israeli Arab town of Jisr az-Zarqa sparked demands for an investigation from Egyptians who strongly oppose advocating normalization with neighboring Israel.
By Roi Kais
While Egypt is desperately seeking to attract tourists amid the ongoing security crisis in the country, the Egyptian television surprisingly chose to promote tourism in Israel.
One of Egypt’s state-owned television channels featured an article this week about the Arab-Israeli town of Jisr az-Zarqa, which is located near the coastal city of Haifa. The segment explained why the village would be a touristic hot-spot, noting the town’s magic, beauty, enchanting nature and friendly residents.
Without much delay, the article brought about much criticism within Egypt, as many social media users expressed their restlessness about the unusual editorial and national newspapers called the segment an embarrassment.
A radio announcer on one of Egypt’s state-owned radio stations commented on the debated video: “I am one of the (national) patriots who oppose any form of normalization, cooperation and presentation of materials about the Zionist entity, which we all do not acknowledge. If that television station and its workers have a different opinion, they should present this segment in privately-owned channels and not in one that belongs to a people that object normalization with the Zionist enemy.”
The residents of Jisr az-Zarqa, however, are quite satisfied with the sudden express of positivity towards them, though some note it appears they were only used to re-ignite the quarrel between the two neighboring countries.
Sami Ali, chairman of the Arab National Committee in Jisr az-Zarqa said: “(The Egyptians) used our town to slander and battle the enemy. I invite everyone to come to our village, and see its beautiful natural resources and potential.”
An investigation into the circumstances behind the article’s broadcast has been launched, and the producers and editors who were involved in producing the segment are all expected to be questioned and possibly dismissed from their jobs.
Even though Egypt has signed a peace agreement with Israel over three decades ago, there is an ongoing discourse in the Arab country to avoid normalizing relations with Israel, and the ties between the two countries are often described as cold peace.
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4496239,00.html