Pork and Politesse: Chinese Tourists in Israel

“Should we not bring any snacks with pork?”

Maybe Chinese tourists’ reputation for boorishness is unfounded, given that this considerate inquiry was one of several posed to managers of the first organized Chinese group tour of Israel for non-business purposes. The first of two 10-day, 40-person contingents from the Peoples Republic of China landed at Ben Gurion this week.

While about 50,000 Israelis visit China every year, the Chinese headed this fall from Beijing to Tel Aviv are the first to go in the other direction. (I posted here recently about the prehistoric days of Israeli tourism in the PRC.)

Given Chinese urbanites’ intense interest in Jews and Jewish ways—beautifully recounted in Susan Fishman Orlins’s “Letter from China” in the magazine—we should expect to see more along this route, notwithstanding the cost of $3,000 a head for the 10-day trip.

The tour groups flew El Al. I wonder how they liked the food?

Photo by Malias.

—Mandy Katz
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