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September 13, 1991 - Image 56

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-09-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

TRAVEL

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

From Everyone at Suburban Olds-Cadillac

We Have an Excellent Selection
of '92 Cadillacs!

Come in and Preview

$2,500

Rebate

$2,000

Rebate

$1,500

Rebate

on BROUGHAM
on FLEETWOOD and SEDAN DEVILLE
on ELDORADO and SEVILLE

CARL ALPERT

Special to The Jewish News

SEDAN DEVILLE

$25,595!„67

BROUGHAM

115 99

FLEETWOOD

List
Price
$33,899

#548

Stk. #1536

Loaded, Loaded!
5.7 liter, Wire wheel discs, gold package

'Prices include rebates, plus tax and plates. MSRP of Sedan Deville is $32.426, MSRP of Brougham
is $33,899, MSRP of FLEETWOOD IS $36,660.

suburban Olds-

1810 Maplelawn in the Troy Motor Mall

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A Billion Prospects:
Islamic Pilgrims

(313) 960-7447
(800) 424-0294

W

hen Meir Kaplan of
Jerusalem told the
authorities in
Israel's Ministry of Tourism
that he had an idea to pro-
mote large-scale tours to the
country by non-Jews, he met
with an enthusiastic reaction.
"Great!" was the response.
"We ought to be getting more
Christian pilgrims."
"No," Mr. Kaplan told them.
"What I have in mind are
Moslems. There are over a
billion Moslems in the world."
Eyebrows were lifted, but
Mr. Kaplan pursued his point.
Of this total, perhaps 15 per-
cent are Arabs. The re-
mainder are in such non Arab
countries as Indonesia,
Pakistan, Bangladesh,
Nigeria, Afghanistan and
Tanzania, with many in
western countries as well.
True ' there are masses of
poverty-stricken inhabitants
in these lands, but there is
also a relatively large
number of more affluent peo-
ple who travel overseas, and
for whom an opportunity to
visit and pray in Jerusalem,
Islam's third holy city after
Mecca and Medina, would
have appeal.
If the Israeli officials involv-
ed gave Mr. Kaplan the green
light to go ahead, it was only
because they secretly believ-
ed there was no chance the
project would ever
materialize. Planning and
development and contact
were all made. Things looked
promising, but all that was
five years ago. Then came the
intifada — and the whole idea
was shelved.
Not easily discouraged, Mr.
Kaplan bided his time, and in
recent months has returned
to the idea with a vengeance.
Israeli financier and pro-
moter, Yaakov Nimrodi,
became involved. An invest-
ment of one million dollars
has been obtained from none
other than the Saudi
millionaire, Adnan
Khashoggi, and negotiations
are under way with other
potential investors, both Arab
and Jewish.
A million Moslems make
their hajj pilgrimage to Mec-
ca every year, and to begin
with, even a small number of
these could well be interested
in a package tour which
would include prayers at the
A 1 -Aqs a Mosque in
Jerusalem, as well as visits to
other places of interest to

them in Hebron, Jericho, Acre
and Tiberias.
"We have no intention of
making propaganda, or of try-
ing to 'sell' them Israel," Mr.
Kaplan told me. "Undoubted-
ly many will come with
negative images, but we are
hopeful that the reality they
see here will overcome that
negative."
Four large couuntries are
being targeted for the promo-
tion, but Mr. Kaplan would
not say which at this stage.
The first Islamic pilgrims are
expected before this year is
up. The language of the tours
will be English, or the
language of the pilgrims
themselves. In polyglot Israel
there is no difficulty finding
tourist guides who speak all
tongues.
No problem is expected
with hotel facilities, and there

Since Moslems
strictly avoid all
pork products, it
could well be that
kosher cuisine
would meet their
requirements.

is talk that the new company,
known as Islamica Tours, may
take over one or two large
hotels in the Jerusalem area.
Since Moslems strictly avoid
all pork products, it could well
be that kosher cuisine would
meet their requirements. In-
deed, Moslems in England
and the U.S. frequently visit
kosher restaurants for that
reason.
What kind of reception will
the Moslem pilgrims get from
local Palestinian Arabs? No
opposition is expected, Mr.
Kaplan told me. To the con-
trary, they should look upon
such tours as serving their
own interests.
How about right-wing
Israeli extremists? Rehavam
Ze'evi, who is identified with
the so-called "transfer" idea,
is on record as giving the plan
his endorsement. "If Moslem
tourists want to come here to
pray, they are welcome," he
said, noting that tourist
dollars help turn the wheels
of the economy.
There were some in the
government who had doubts,
but when the matter was con-
sidered thoroughly, the pro-
ject was approved at the
highest levels.
As indicated, the whole
scheme is purely commercial,
.without any political con-
siderations whatever, but if

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