roman mansion city of david 248.88.
(photo credit: Courtesy/Antiquities Authority )
An activist organization in Jerusalem is appealing to the Lonely Planet guide
series to include more information about the Arab history of the City of David
site, following the busy Pessah season at the popular tourist
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Members of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement protested by
handing out flyers outside the City of David during the holiday. More than 8,000
tourists and Israelis visited the site during the four intermediate days of the
Lonely Planet dedicates three full pages to the City of David
site in the 2010 version of its Israel & Palestinian Territories
but does not include any information about the Arab neighborhood of Silwan or
the Ir David Foundation (Elad), which runs the City of David. Lonely Planet
recommends the site, which hosts approximately 450,000 visitors per year, as one
of the top “must-see” sites for a two-day stay in the capital.
them to illustrate in the guide that this is a political disagreement, and that
it belongs to a political org with extremist agenda,” said Sheikh Jarrah
Solidarity Movement activist Avner Inbar. “The situation is that Elad has done a
good job blurring the political situation, and most people that see it just
don’t know what is going on.”
Lonely Planet sent a noncommittal reply to
a query from some of the activists last week. “The authors in conjunction with
the commissioning editor of the next Israel & Palestinian Territories
guidebook will independently review our information on the City of David when
researching the guide, and your comments have been passed onto them for their
consideration,” wrote Raphael Richards, a member of the feedback team for Lonely
“[We] strive to put forward an impartial and balanced view of
local issues of interest to travelers, which will give them a greater
understanding of the country they travel in,” the email stated.
Pessah, Solidarity Activists sat outside the entrance to the City of David with
blindfolds covering their eyes, in an attempt to remind visitors of the
“reality” of life in Silwan, which surrounds the archeological
“It’s important that a guy who comes and gives his money knows
where his money is going to,” said Inbar.
The Solidarity Movement wants
as a “bare minimum” for Lonely Planet to include information about the Arab
neighborhood Silwan and the effect that the archeological park has had on
residents. Inbar added that they had chosen Lonely Planet because it is the most
well known guidebook, but would consider appealing to others in the
“The archeological excavations on the City of David hill during
the past 150 years have found artifacts that have amazed the whole world, and
that is why many international guidebooks have chosen it as one of the leading
tourist sites in Israel,” Elad spokesman Udi Ragones said.
He accused the
Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement of a “PR move” with the Lonely Planet
campaign. “[They] are joining radical left-wing groups that are trying to ban
artists, academics, products, and now national heritage sites in Israel,” he
The My Israel organization mounted a counter-campaign and
encouraged its members to send the Lonely Planet feedback team letters of
support for the City of David entry in the guidebook.
In July 2010, the
Ir Amim nonprofit organization and other activists petitioned the High Court of
Justice to annul the agreement between the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and
the Ir David Foundation that transferred the management of the City of David
site from the authority to the private organization. “There is no other example
of a national park being run by a private nonprofit organization with a clear
political orientation,” the petition read.
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