Mongolia, Israel to Talk Tourism

What does Israel have in common with Mongolia? Deserts. The countries will develop joint tourism ventures to each other’s respective arid regions.

Avraham Zuroff, | updated: 06:59

Mongolia-Israel flags
Mongolia-Israel flags
Israel news photo: (montage)

What does Israel have in common with Mongolia? Deserts. The two countries will develop joint tourism ventures to each other’s respective arid regions.

The Tourism Ministers of Israel and Mongolia will sign a joint tourism agreement in Jerusalem on Tuesday to boost tourism between the two countries. In addition, they will promise to learn about each other’s culture and history.

The signing of the agreement is the initiative of Mongolia’s President Nambaryn Enkhbayar, who visited Israel in 2008 during a conference organized by President Shimon Peres. The agreement includes a postal distribution agreement, an exchange of professional know-how, joint ventures in tourism initiatives and cooperation for the promotion of tourism between the countries. As Mongolia is a country which contains desert land, the countries will emphasize tourism in the desert region. They will explore the markets of rural tourism and develop desert tourism.

A delegation of Mongolian officials will arrive in Israel on Tuesday. During their three-day visit to Israel, the delegation will meet with Israeli tourism officials and will tour the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem regions.

Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov stated in a press release, “The Ministry of Tourism views great importance in making ties with new countries, whether to boost new tourism to Israel or in order to promote cooperation in various areas.”

Mongolia is a landlocked country in east and central Asia and borders Russia in its north and China in the south. Its population numbers about 3 million people. Most of its citizens (85 percent) are Mongolian natives who practice Buddhism. Mongolia is a member of the International Tourism Organization (ITO) since 1990. The Mongolian government has called its tourism branch a preferred branch with great socio-economic potential for its country. About 12,000 of its citizens are employed in the tourism field.

Jews of Mongolia
Jews in Mongolia date back to the end of the 19th century, when there was trade between Siberian-Jewish merchants and Mongolians. As a result, some Jews settled in Mongolia. In 1926, Ulan Bator, then under Russian rule, had a population of 600 Jews. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, a number of its Jewish citizens emigrated. Some immigrated to Israel.

Today, the Jewish community numbers less than 100. The nearest Jewish community with a rabbi is in the Siberian town of Irkutsk. Rabbi Aharon Wagner, the rabbi of a Chabad congregation in Irkutsk, maintains contact with Mongolian Jewry.


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