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October 15, 2014 12:04 am

Bringing Movies and Tourists to Israel

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avatar by Ronn Torossian

Temple Mount. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A few months ago it was announced that the Israeli government was allocating $4 million, in conjunction with the City of Jerusalem, to encourage the shooting of mega-budget movies in Israel, as well as an international television series to be aired on NBC.

The funds are being used to help develop Jerusalem’s film industry, and to “bring Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular to millions of TV and movie screens around the world.”

Well, apparently this mission has started to succeed. Richard Gere has agreed to star in a movie about a relationship between a Jewish activist and an Israeli politician. Award-winning Israeli director Joseph Cedar is making the movie – he also made the must-see tear jerker, Beaufort, which is about the experiences of an IDF unit during the pullout from Lebanon. That film was nominated for an Oscar.

Gere has visited Israel on numerous previous trips – including a visit with Palestinian spokesperson Hanan Ashrawi, and a trip where he met with Israel’s tourism minister and urged people to visit Israel, noting “The hotels in Israel are full, and that signals an era of peace and hope.”

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The more people who know Israel, I have no doubt the more people will visit as tourists and support the country. There’s so many great things about Israel. Unfortunately, recent news shows a 36 percent drop in the number of people visiting Israel this past August against the same number in August 2013 – a response to the Israel-Hamas conflict this summer.

Israel’s Ministry of Tourism continues working hard to make things happen – and surely having stars visit Israel will only help with their efforts.

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