+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Israeli hotels warn Jewish guests that Arabs will also be there

Israeli Jews trying to book hotel rooms for the upcoming holidays being informed of far more than the price and terms, Channel 2 reveals. The latest  hotel courtesy.

Illustrative photo of tourists sunbathing at a hotel pool. (Photo by Benoit Daoust/Shutterstock.com)

Illustrative photo of tourists sunbathing at a hotel pool. (Photo by Benoit Daoust/Shutterstock.com)

A number of hotels in Israel are warning Jews trying to make reservations for the upcoming High Holidays that Arabs will also be vacationing there, a report on Israel’s Channel 2 News revealed Monday.

In audio recordings of telephone calls made to the Crown Plaza, Club Hotel and Astral Hotel reservation lines, employees can be heard actively warning callers that before they book a room, they should take into account that Arabs will also be staying there.

The Jewish holidays this year overlap with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, hotel reservation agents proactively inform callers without any prompting, explaining that many Palestinian citizens of Israel will also be on holiday in their hotels.

Except the hotel employees don’t dare utter the word Arabs, or even “minorities,” and certainly not Palestinians. Instead, they refer to their Arab guests as members of “hamigzar,” which means “the sector” in Hebrew, and is used in Israel to refer to the large Arab minority, which comprises over 20 percent of the country’s population.

In at least one of the recorded calls a hotel employee goes on at length, stumbling over her words in an effort not to actually utter the word Arab, as if saying “the sector” and not “Arab” makes it somehow OK.

When one caller, presumably a reporter, asks why the hotel is making the “disclosure” to potential guests, the hotel employee says, “there are people who want to know.”

In another call, the hotel employee says: “you know that it is a Muslim holiday on those dates, right?” The caller replies, “What does that mean?” to which the employee responds, “there are people who are bothered by this.”

When the caller says she’s never heard such a warning and that it’s pretty bizarre, the hotel employee says, “We are doing it to be fair. Some people later complain that we didn’t tell them ahead of time.”

From the consistency shown across hotel chains in the report it appears employees of various hotels were given orders from above to proactively inform all Jews booking on those dates that they will be sharing their vacation with Arabs.

Asked by Channel 2 to respond, the hotels said the policy is a result of feedback they received in the past — reviews like: “The hotel is great for families but full of Arabs.”

Imagine for a moment that a hotel employee warned a white American making a reservation that blacks would also be staying there at the same time. Or if a hotel warned Christian guests that they might have to share the pool with Jewish families. This is exactly the same.

The phenomenon of private segregation of leisure sites and activities in Israel is nothing new. In 2013, the Superland amusement park in Rishon Lezion was exposed for segregating between Arab and Jewish schools. There are, after all, already segregated schools, buses, streets and highways. Why not hotels, too?

Considering Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won the parliamentary elections earlier this year largely by warning his constituents that “droves of Arabs” were going to the polls to exercise their right to vote, it can’t be surprising that hotels are warning Jews about Arab vacationers. It’s all part of the increased normalization of the practice of segregation in Israel.

Newsletter banner

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. Roberto

      So they warn potential guests with racist attitudes not to come. What’s wrong with that? Isn’t it like advising potential customers that “this establishment does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, etc. and if you don’t like it don’t book here”?

      Reply to Comment
      • Simon Adebisi

        Many hotels notify prospective guests if a certain portion of rooms is booked by a convention or a wedding. This is a service to everyone.
        Only 972 would willfully use this to slander Israelis with.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Weiss

      Jim Crow is alive and well in Israel.

      Next up “Arab Only” water fountains and bathrooms…

      And the orthodox extremists have already forced women to sit in the back of the bus because they can’t control their primal sexual urges…

      This is what regressive Apartheid looks like …

      Reply to Comment
      • Esteban

        If it was jim crow, or apartheid, there wouldn’t have been any “sector” guests at all in those hotels. Imagine Woolworth’s warning whites in 1962 that they might have to sit next to a Negro at the lunch counter because Woolworth’s won’t discriminate on the basis of race. It is a sad reflection of society that hotel management feels a need to warn the population most likely to contain bigots, but I figure most Israeli Jews just shrug off the “advise”, probably think it ridiculous, and book their rooms.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Lauren

      I strongly protest the hotels’ Jim Crow announcements and urge those who come up against them, to protest loudly and boycott the hotels. This is not the country I came to live in many years ago. Shame!

      Reply to Comment
      • Simon Adebisi

        Lauren, if you had a high school,education (even a GED) you would know how silly your Jim Crow analogy is. So,what is your problem lady? Are you stupid or just a fool?

        Reply to Comment
        • Elisabeth

          Do you think real Nigerians are as rude as you? Or is this what you image Africans to be like?

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            What a great Jew he is, eh? [sarcasm]. He in fact embodies the ethos and spirit of the occupation: boisterous, thuggish disregard and pathological narcissism.

            Reply to Comment
    4. This is a speculative article that has nothing to do with the daily life in Israel. Jews and Arabs live together and work together all over the country. If one hotel employee say or do something stupide does not change this fact.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Liz

      How about a warning that bigots and racists are likely to be staying.

      Reply to Comment
    6. And

      Take these 2 holidays:
      (1) Jewish Yom Kipur – is not a happy holiday. It is a fast.
      (2) Muslim Eid El Adha – is a happy holiday, when people slaughter sheep, and eat lots of meat all day long.
      It is only logical to make sure people who come to Eilat, and plan some fasting (or celebrate) know that other guests are there for exactly opposite: celebrate and eat (or fast).
      This whole thing was just blown out of proportions by the media, and picked up by Israel haters.

      Reply to Comment
    7. xuxa

      I think hotels are the lesser problem. They could have told the potential Arab guests that there were no free rooms. Instead they decided to prevent problems by warning the Jewish families which might be understandable if they had Jewish guests complaining in the years before. I guess you might even argue that the Arab families are better off if Jewish guests are warned and at least the extreme racists won’t be there to bother them.
      However, it is shocking that hotels feel that they have to warn about Arabs due to the experiences of the previous years. That it’s serious.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Simon Adebisi

      Weiss the fascist heard his name and trotted over like the dog he is

      Reply to Comment
      • Weiss

        Grow up …

        The Fascists have tilted the political spectrum so far to the Right that the Left is now in the CENTER…

        … This is the real existential threat which is destroying Israel FROM WITHIN.

        Reply to Comment
    9. Oriol2

      The whole thing is rather weird anyway. The normal thing around the world is that hotels do not admit the members of discriminated ethnic minorities (sadly they do, also in Europe). In this case it looks like Israeli hotels are willing to take Arab guests, and then try to scare off their potential Jewish guests. I do not say they are less racist for that, but this is a strange behavior by all means.

      Reply to Comment