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Welcome to Israel, via strip clubs?

MK claims Foreign Ministry has sent visiting diplomats to places where sexual services are provided

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

A dancer performs at a Tel Aviv strip club (photo credit:  Boaz Oppenheim/Flash90)
A dancer performs at a Tel Aviv strip club (photo credit: Boaz Oppenheim/Flash90)

The Foreign Ministry has sent visiting diplomats to local strip clubs during official visits to Israel, MK David Tzur (Hatnua) charged Monday.

During a Knesset debate on combating prostitution and human trafficking, Tzur made the offhand comment, noting that an anonymous, “reliable” source had informed him that the ministry directed visiting diplomats to strip clubs to help guests pass their time in Israel, according to Maariv.

Tzur is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Trafficking in Women and Prostitution. Before entering politics, he was a senior police official, commanding the Border Police and the Tel Aviv District Police.

A brief shocked silence settled over the room after Tzur’s revelation, but the debate quickly got back on track.

Tzur called for an investigation into the allegations.

MK David Tzur (photo credit: Knesset)
MK David Tzur (photo credit: Knesset)

The Foreign Ministry vehemently denied the charge. “The malicious fiction with which one of the MKs charged the Foreign Ministry is a slander,” said the Foreign Ministry spokesman’s office, “that comes from the sick imagination of the anonymous source that the diligent MK, for some reason, decided to trust. Not only a fiction, but an especially miserable slander that an elected official chose — someone who is supposed to be extra careful with his words so as not to besmirch an entire group of honest government workers.”

Tzur’s spokesperson responded that “strip clubs are not forbidden by law, but the information in our hands indicates that sexual services are also provided in these clubs. In light of this information, the promulgation of these clubs is problematic and MK Tzur’s statement was said in this context. If his words hurt the dedicated workers of the Foreign Ministry, we regret this, but the fight against the phenomenon of trade in women and prostitution demands cooperation from all parties.”

The allegations come as the Foreign Ministry continues its bitter labor dispute against the Finance Ministry, which has stretched for more than three months. The ongoing strike, which has shut down visa application processing, threatens to keep dozens of athletes from entering the country to compete at the upcoming Maccabiah games.

Aaron Kalman contributed to this report. 

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