Hummus hampering tourism? Arab-Israeli restaurant accused of billing Chinese over $4,000

Debate erupts after Israeli tourism association posts alleged copy of bill to social media; restaurant owners claim foreign patrons had lavish meal.

Hummus (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A row recently erupted after a group of Chinese tourists was reportedly slammed with an exorbitant bill costing NIS 16,500 (about $4,395) at a hummus restaurant in the Arab Israeli town of Abu Ghosh, renowned for its eateries serving the classic Middle Eastern dish.
The matter came to light when an Israeli tour operating organization posted an alleged image of the bill on social media and indicated that the hummus joint may have taken advantage of  what they perceived as naive Chinese tourists, the British Guardian reported this week.
However, the restaurant has contested the calculation of the bill in a dispute with the tourism association.
The tourism association pointed at the incident as being an example of local merchants trying to swindle unbeknownst customers, and dampening relations with members of potential foreign markets.
In his defense, the Guardian cited one of the restaurant's owners, Jawdat Ibrahim, as saying the Chinese patron's has rented half of the 300-person capacity venue. He added that they had stayed for hours, ordered copious amounts of grilled meat, including a stuffed lamb, and alcohol and had left a hefty tip.
Nonetheless, the Israeli tourism association rejected the owner's claim, saying the unnamed tour operator used by the Chinese group had a different account.