Tunisian Ministers Escape Rebuke Over Israeli Tourists

Motions dropped against two Tunisian ministers over 'normalization' with Israel.

Tunisian ministers Rihda Sfar and Amel Karboul
Tunisia's Minister of national security Rihda Sfar (front-R) and Minister of Tourism Amel Karboul (front-L) look on at the Tunisian Constituent Assembly on May 9, 2014 in Tunis. AFP

Motions against two Tunisian ministers who were accused of promoting normalization with Israel were dropped on Friday, AFP reported, amid a growing political debate on whether to allow in Israeli tourists.

The two officials are Tourism Minister Amal Karboul and Deputy Interior Minister and National Security Chief, Ridha Sfar. A petition to question Karboul was submitted last April over a decision allowing Israelis to use their passports to enter the country for an annual religious pilgrimage.

Sfar, meanwhile, has also said he sees no problem with granting a special permit to Israelis who wish to visit Tunisia.

The opponents of normalization do not have a majority in the parliament. If they wish to, however, they may demand a vote of no confidence in the government of technocrats, which was established after a long period of instability. This would cause a new political crisis precisely at a time when Tunisia is preparing for elections, which are scheduled for late in the year.

Tourism is the most important source of revenue for Tunisia, which until the 2011 revolution was a popular destination for European tourists. The tourism industry was hit hard in the three and a half years since the revolution and has only started to recover this year.