Tura Winery wine barrels
Tura Winery wine barrels Hillel Meir

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Llikud) and other officials harshly condemned the editors of "The New Guide to Israeli Wine," a top resource for Israeli wine lovers, after they were revealed to be boycotting wineries from Judea and Samaria.

On Tuesday night Channel 2 exposed that Vered and Erez Ben-Saadon, owners of Tura Winery in Samaria's Rehelim which has won numerous wine awards in Israel and abroad, were rejected by the editors for inclusion in the important wine book because they grow wine in "the territories."

"When the state of Israel launches a struggle against the boycotts from Israel, sources at home who boycott Israeli products create a delegitimization of the state of Israel," stated Hotovely in response to the expose.

"Sources who take such activities act as agents of the Palestinian propaganda against Israel, and the serious phenomena of a boycott from home must be denounced and condemned."

The editors of the book are Gal Zohar, a wine expert, and Yair Gat, the wine critic for Israel Hayom. They were revealed to have told Vered Ben-Saadon that her boutique wines would not be included - even while wines from the Golan Heights are included in the book, despite the fact that the Golan region is also over the 1949 Armistice lines.

MK Oren Hazan (Likud) echoed Hotovely's condemnation, saying, "I have no doubt that 'the Israeli Wine Guide,' which already began a process of repentance when it recognized the Golan Heights as part of the state of Israel, will make complete repentance."

That process would occur, he said, "if for nothing else than because of the wonderful international wine produced in Judea and Samaria which, as is known, is an inseparable part of the state of Israel."

In response to the expose, the Samaria Regional Council announced that it intends to examine legal steps against the editors of the book.

"This book is not worthy of being taken seriously if its writers take out particular wineries for political reasons and not from professional considerations," said Yossi Dagan, head of the council. "We will examine legal steps and lawsuits according to the boycott law."

Dagan added that "it is very saddening to discover that within our people there are those who even in this difficult time, when we are all dealing with terror attacks, continue to libel and try to harm business owners in Judea and Samaria out of some sort of delusion that that will bring peace."

"This hatred bears testimony like a thousands witnesses against those who stand behind it. The European Union should be proud, it has several loyal friends here," concluded Dagan, calling on Israeli citizens to fight the boycott and buy from the region.

The mention of the EU comes after it recently decided to label Jewish products from Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, in a discriminatory move that ignores the nearly 200 other territorial disputes worldwide.

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