Tens of thousands of people visited the IMTM international tourism exhibition in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. Among the many booths at the site advertising Israeli attractions were several promoting tourism to Samaria (Shomron).
For Israelis in the Samaria region, tourism has a special significance, said Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika. Visits to the region strengthen the ties between Samaria and the rest of Israel, he explained.
“I am sure that in the upcoming years millions of tourists will come visit Samaria – and will erase the ‘green line’ with their feet,” he declared.
The “green line” is a term referring to the 1949 armistice line between Israel and Jordan, which left Jordan in control of Judea, Samaria and part of Jerusalem from 1949 until the Six Day War in 1967. The Palestinian Authority has claimed the land east of the line for the creation of an Arab state.
Mesika said there is reason to believe tourism in the region will flourish. “In recent years we’ve seen a growing swell of hikers and tourists in Samaria, from all around the country and even from overseas,” he said. “The Samaria Regional Council has invested a lot of money in preparing sites for visitors, in establishing new tourist sites and events.”
The Samaria stand at the IMTM exhibition played up the region’s long history and its modern-day industry with a mix of historical theater and wine tasting. Actors played the part of Biblical figures, while businesses such as the Tura vineyards and the Givat Olam organic, free-range farm, offered samples of their wares.