Photo Credit: Evelyn Proimos via Wikimedia
Torres del Paine National Park

The Jewish Community of Chile condemned the statements of Chile’s National Forestry Corporation director Elizabeth Munoz against three Israeli tourists, El Mercurio reported Wednesday. The three had been expelled from the Torres del Paine National Park for starting fire in an unauthorized zone.

Muñoz told Tele13 Radio that most of the expelled tourists in Torres del Paine are Israeli. “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,” she said. “It seems they have the culture of not obeying and going against the rules,” she added.

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The Chilean Jewish Community released a statement expressing its displeasure by the director’s statement, suggesting her generalization “only fosters hate and discrimination.”

Muñoz also said that Chilean hostels “have joined forces and do not receive ‘these people’ by their nationality.” However, she noted, “we can not prohibit entry, but if they present an aggressive attitude we can remove them.”

The three Israelis were fined about $1,000 each.

Daniel Banai, one of the Israeli tourists, told Ynet in January that he and his friends had followed the rules and went to a cooking facility to heat up cans of tuna over a fire. A fellow traveler decided to call the park security and as soon as the guards discovered the accused tourists were Israelis there was no talking to them – they insisted the Israelis leave.

In 2011, Israeli tourist Rotem Singer, 23, was accused of starting a wildfire at Chile’s Patagonia national park Torres del Paine.

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