Imagine for a moment a group of American tourists, deep in the West Bank, clad in comfortable clothes, tennis shoes, and baseball caps, chanting together “Eliminate the terrorist!”
Welcome to a demonstration of the hottest Israeli tourism trend of the summer: extreme Zionist tourism.
Visitors from around the world are welcomed to such shooting ranges as Caliber 3 in Efrat, which offers a two-hour “anti-terrorism” program for tourists of all ages which “combine[s] together the values of Zionism with the excitement and enjoyment of shooting which makes the activity more meaningful,” according to their site.
Tourists seeking something a bit more exciting than the usual tours of holy sites and archaeological digs, with stops on the beaches of the Mediterranean, can venture into the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, where the shooting instructors of Caliber 3 will teach them how to fend off terrorists.
Michel Braun, 40, from Miami, told Yedioth Ahronoth that he had arrived at the range with his children “to instill values in them.” Even his five-year-old Tamara, participated, shooting clay bullets from a real weapon at targets set up on a wall.
“This is part of their education,” Braun said, “So that they know where they are from, and of course to get a little action.”
“This is tourism with added value,” said Davidi Perl, the head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council to Yedioth. “An experience like this… can create worldwide recognition for Gush Etzion as a pearl of tourism.”