Israel’s Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnikov, has informed the media that he plans to take advantage of the Pope’s visit to Israel and focus his ministry’s marketing on bringing pilgrims to the country.

He says he intends to bring in Catholic pilgrims and Evangelical Christians to Israel.

“Past tourism ministers made a mistake when they tried to market Israel as a vacation destination by showing Israel’s beaches and beautiful young women.

“Ministers who focused on photographing models, or on being photographed with them, thought that this would bring tourists to Israel.

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“But their mistake was that our neighbors also have pretty young women and beaches, and we can’t compete with them in terms of the prices that they offer for vacation packages,” the minister said.

Mr. Misezhnikov was referring to the recent disastrous campaign of the Israel Ministry of Tourism that featured Israel’s bathing beauties, some of whom gave extensive interviews to the international media where they expressed their lack of patriotism to the State of Israel.

Meeting more than 100 reporters who have come to Israel to cover the Papal visit, Mr. Misezhnikov said: “What Israel needs to do is focus on what we have and others don’t, or, in other words, the Holy Land. Israel is sacred to Judaism, Christianity and also to Islam, and the Tourism Ministry’s current focus is to market Israel as the Holy Land. I hope that the Pope, who will be… visiting Israel soon, will call upon Catholic believers to come to Israel, and I intend to do everything I can to take full advantage of this visit. In addition, the Ministry of Tourism will work together with Evangelical communities all over the world in order to increase the number of their visitors to Israel.”

David Bedein can be reached at


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.