During a tour in the Golan Heights on Wednesday, Israeli President Shimon Peres said that “if Egyptians ban bikinis, they won’t have tourism,” Ynetnews website reported.
His comment ostensibly serve to highlight the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists to power in Egypt and their respective nominations to the upcoming presidential elections.
“We offered the Arabs help but they declined, on their own account not ours,” Peres said during a joint military tour with IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz in the Golan Heights. “No external source can save Egypt, it will only be saved from within. The youth will return to the squares, this time with a plan.”
Some Egyptian Islamists have spoken of creating a new message for tourists: Welcome, but no booze, bikinis or mixed bathing at beaches, please. Late March, Salafist candidate for Egypt’s presidential election, Sheikh Hazim Salah Abu Ismail, spoke against the practice of taking taxes from casinos and night clubs for use in the budget.
“Israel has banned taxing gambling because it is against Judaism, while Egypt makes money from belly dancers entertaining drunk men,” Abu Ismail told Al Arabiya.
Ismail said if he wins the presidency, he will make economic leaps without resorting to such tactics.
Tourism in Egypt is considered to be one of the most important sectors to the country’s economy. The sector also employs about 12 percent of the country’s workforce.
Israeli tourism dropped 60 percent at the same time last year, amid tensions on the Egypt-Israel border and Egypt’s then security situation.