A senior official of an entity tied to the Chilean government threatened Israeli tourists after a group was removed from a national park.
National Forestry Corp. director Elizabeth Munoz criticized “Israelites” for “cultural bad behavior” after three Israeli tourists were expelled late last month from the Torres del Paine National Park for switching on a portable mini-stove in an unauthorized area, the El Mercurio newspaper reported.
“They are united at hostels, and ‘these people’ are received not due to their nationalities. However, we can’t bar their entrance, but they will be removed if they present an aggressive attitude,” Munoz declared during an interview last week with Tele13 Radio.
“I have been reviewing the statistics and since 2012 we have had 36 expulsions, of which 23 were Israelites, and these three are also Israelites. It seems they have the culture of not obeying and going against the rules,” she said.
The Comunidad Judia de Chile, the country’s umbrella Jewish organization, released a statement indicating that such generalization fosters a scenario of hatred and discrimination.
“We condemn all kinds of attacks against the nature of our country, but we cannot accept that our authorities make such statements that give rise to acts of hatred at a time when Chile is fighting to end discrimination against tourists and immigrants,” the statement said.
“We request that this type of situation is not repeated and so we can avoid the hostility and racism we do not want for our country.”
The three Israeli tourists were fined about $1,000, which will be designated for fighting forest fires in the region. In 2014, other Israeli travelers accused Chilean authorities of degrading treatment at the same park after being expelled for cooking.
“We were treated like murderers. In a moment we turned into Israelis who are trying to burn down the reserve,” a tourist told Ynet.
Last month, a young Jewish and gay activist wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the flag of Israel was attacked at a Santiago park with several razor cuts perpetrated by three men who carried neo-Nazi symbols.
Chile is home to some 15,000 Jews. The country is also believed to host the largest Palestinian community outside of the Arab world, with more than 300,000 members.
Jewish journalist sticks up for Trump after being called a ‘liar’
The Jewish reporter whom President Donald Trump interrupted and accused of lying at a news conference defended Trump’s actions as owing to a misunderstanding.
Jake Turx, a reporter for Ami Magazine, told Fox News that he believed Trump acted defensively to his question about rising anti-Semitism in America because of the “unfair” treatment the president was receiving in the media and allegations connected to anti-Semitism.
“It’s very unfair what’s been done to him and I understand why he’s so defensive,” Turx, who wears a large kippah and a beard, told Fox News Feb. 16, hours after the incident. “And I’m with him when it comes to being outraged about him being charged with this anti-Semitism.”
Turx in a Twitter post said “President Trump clearly misunderstood my question. This is highly regretful and I’m going to seek clarification.”
After a harsh-toned exchange with several reporters — some of whom Trump interrupted, told to “sit down” or be quiet — Trump said he wanted to take a question from a friendly reporter.
Turx said “I’m friendly,” and began by saying that “despite what some of my colleagues have been reporting, I have not seen anyone in my community accuse either yourself or anyone of your staff of being anti-Semitic.” He added: “We understand that you have Jewish grandchildren, you are their zayde,” Yiddish for grandfather.
Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka, converted to Judaism several years ago prior to marrying Jared Kushner, who is also Jewish.
However, citing dozens of bomb threats against Jewish institutions in recent months, Turx said, “What we haven’t really heard being addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it.”
Trump interrupted Turx, said his question was “not fair” and said: “OK, sit down, I understand the rest of your question.” Trump replied that he was “the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life.” Trump then turned to the reporters, said “quiet” three times and added: “See, he lied about, he was going to get up and ask a very straight, simple question, so, you know, welcome to the world of the media.”
He then said: “I hate the charge because I find it repulsive.” Trump referenced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remark the day before during a joint news conference at the White House, where Netanyahu said, “There is no greater supporter of Israel or the Jewish state than President Donald Trump” to a reporter who asked about the rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the United States.
“I think we can put that to rest,” Netanyahu said.
During the Fox News interview, Turx said he believed Trump’s emotional reaction to the subject is a hopeful sign because “it shows a president who is so committed against this problem of anti-Semitism that it bothers him on a personal level, a deep personal level.”