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Israel’s new tourism minister vows to invest resources in promoting ‘our local Tuscany in Judea and Samaria’

Initiative will be at odds with Biden administration, which opposes new policies it believes will prevent a two-state solution

Israel’s new Tourism Minister Haim Katz (Photo: Shlomi Amsalem/GPO)

Israel’s newly appointed tourism minister, Haim Katz, of the Likud party pledged to channel resources to promote tourism in the West Bank – known as Judea and Samaria.

“We will invest in areas that may not have received sufficient support to date. For example, our local Tuscany in Judea and Samaria,” Katz said in the ministerial handover ceremony on Sunday. 

Katz noted that the tourism ministry “plays a major role in strengthening the economy and promoting the beautiful face of Israel.” 

“Our goal is to reach new records,” he said. “We must continue to improve services for tourists, for incoming tourists and Israeli tourists alike. We will work to improve infrastructure and increase the supply of accommodation options. Every Israeli family should be able to enjoy the beauty of our country and find a place to stay that suits their personal budget.” 

Katz replaces Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov from the Yesh Atid party, who wished him success in his role. 

The new right-wing minister’s agenda stands at odds with the Biden administration’s opposition to measures they believe would harm efforts to create a Palestinian state under the two-state solution.

The Six-Day War in1967 resulted in Israel gaining control over Judea and Samaria from its rival, Jordan, which had occupied the areas for 19 years.

Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement that “the United States will continue to support the two-state solution and to oppose policies that endanger its viability or contradict our mutual interests and values.”

U.S. administration officials – National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken – are expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several other Israeli ministers in the coming weeks. 

Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.

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