Jewish National Fund-USA’s (JNF-USA) Western Galilee Tourist Information Center sustained significant damage overnight after it was ransacked by rioters in Israel’s northern city of Akko.

The center, in the heart of Akko’s Old City, has served as a gateway for information and discovery about hundreds of destinations throughout the Galilee. A consortium of small tourism operators and boutique businesses works to raise the area’s profile.

JNF-USA has developed the area’s hospitality and leisure industries by enhancing culinary, arts, cultural and heritage tourism, all in a multi-faith environment.

“We will never let those who seek to spread hate and division come between us and the bright future we are creating for the land and people of Israel,” said JNF-USA CEO Russell F. Robinson. “If ever we needed to share messages of love and humanity, it is now.”

He continued, “When I think of what Zionism is, I think of the streets of Akko, where Jews, Muslims and Christians break bread together, and frequent each other’s stores. This is the story of Akko, and we will not let anyone rewrite it.”

Last week, the city welcomed thousands of visitors to their Spring Festival as the community sought to jump-start local tourism.

Western Galilee Now CEO Michal Shiloah Galnoor noted that after the coronavirus pandemic decimated the tourism industry worldwide, “Israel rose up and showed how to get the majority of a nation vaccinated at breakneck speed. I can’t believe that less than a week has gone by since we celebrated our eighth Spring Festival with more than 3,000 tourists all around the Western Galilee, many of them visiting the Old City of Akko, which has become one of Israel’s main tourist attractions and a beloved ‘getaway,’ especially now that the skies are still partially closed.”

Plans are already underway to restore the center as the city prepares to open up to American tourists. 

JNS

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