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US Travel Advisory for Red Sea Resort Angers Israel

  • Robert Berger

Israeli police inspect the site where a rocket landed on the outskirts of the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat, 02 Aug 2010

A U.S. travel advisory for a Middle Eastern vacation spot has irked Israel.

Israel is angry over a U.S. advisory warning Americans to locate the nearest bomb shelter when traveling to the Red Sea resort of Eilat. The advisory was issued by the State Department after rockets were fired at Eilat last week.

The Israeli Tourism Ministry said the advisory scares visitors away from Eilat during the high summer season. Shabi Shai is the head of the Eilat Hotel Association.

"Talking about cancellations, people who are expected to come in the next few weeks, amongst them, we had (a) few calls trying to inquire what will be the policy of the hotel if they want to delay their arrival," Shai said. "And so, that is exactly our problem because reports came from abroad and reports were misleading."

Egypt and Israel say the rockets were fired from the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula by Palestinian militants. There were no injuries in Israel, but one rocket crashed into the neighboring Jordanian resort city of Aqaba, killing one person and injuring several others.

Nevertheless, no U.S. travel warnings were issued for Egypt or Jordan. Shai denies claims the rockets overshot Eilat and hit Jordan by accident.

"As (far as) I am concerned, they were aimed at Jordan because I can hardly think about somebody who is qualified to fire rockets that is missing (by) six miles," Shai said.

The Tourism Ministry rejected the State Department's distinction between Israel and Jordan. An Israeli newspaper quoted one ministry official as saying the travel advisory was "inappropriate" and "discriminatory."