Letters to the Editor: On Israel's Tourism Industry and Jewish-Muslim Coexistence

Tourists listening as their tour guide talks about street art in the Florentin neighborhood, south Tel Aviv, May 26, 2017.
Tourists listening as their tour guide talks about street art in the Florentin neighborhood, south Tel Aviv, May 26, 2017. Moti Milrod

Lay off tour guides

In response to “Service with a smile: Swiss school aims to raise Israeli tourism sector’s standards” (TheMarker, October 4).

As a licensed Israeli tour guide I was astonished to read that you included the “overbearing tour guide” in your article by Rina Rozenberg Kandel, on the entry of a Swiss school poised to improve services to tourists here in Israel.

While I have no argument that service is sometimes lacking in hotels and restaurants, I would argue that Israeli guides generally provide excellent service, are knowledgeable and often extremely kind. While all of us who work with incoming tourism can certainly talk of the occasional obnoxious guide, tourists are very satisfied with their guides. This is despite the fact that the expectations from us are enormous. Our working day is 12 hours long, we need to make split-second decisions regarding safety and need to navigate the tricky religious and political waters of the State of Israel. Many of us enjoy excellent relations with our Palestinian colleagues and see coexistence as a way of life.

I agree that 50 years of living here has tarnished my native New Zealand manners somewhat and some European polish would not hurt, but in my opinion this was an ungenerous and inaccurate comment.

Frances Oppenheimer

Licensed Israeli tour guide

Jerusalem

Front-page news

In response to “Israeli Arab couple builds sukkah to break stereotypes” (October 4).

We want to express our appreciation to Judy Maltz for her article on Khalil and Reem Bakly and their initiative to build a sukkah and invite both Jews and Arabs to come and celebrate the holiday.

It is probably the only positive article appearing in the paper, and should appear on the front page, not page 7. It is one that gives us hope that one day it will be normal for Jews and Arabs to come together, celebrating and honoring each other’s holidays and special occasions.

What a wonderful, positive and innovative way to promote coexistence, respect and sharing of ideas, religious practices, and friendship.

If we lived closer to Nazareth we would take them up on their invitation.

Thank you Judy Maltz, and thank you to the editorial staff for printing and publicizing this amazing venture.

Judy Telman

Mevasseret Zion

Letters should be exclusive to Haaretz and must include the writer’s name, address and telephone number (an email address is not sufficient). Please note that letters are subject to editing. Please send your letters to letters@haaretz.co.il