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Ditch Maldives, head for Indian beaches, Israel tells citizens after entry ban

In response to the Maldives banning Israeli passport holders, the Embassy of Israel has adopted a unique strategy by promoting tourism in India as an alternative destination.

The Maldives, renowned for its picturesque beaches, has recently banned Israeli visitors due to the ongoing conflict in Gaza. In response, Israel has advised its citizens to avoid traveling to the island nation and suggested that those already there consider departing.

 

Amid these rising tensions, the Israeli Embassy's X page is buzzing with stunning photographs of Indian beaches, ranging from Goa to Kerala. They are encouraging their citizens to forgo the Maldives and explore beach destinations in India instead.

 

"Since the Maldives is no longer welcoming Israelis, here are some beautiful and amazing Indian beaches where Israeli tourists are warmly welcomed and treated with utmost hospitality," the Embassy of Israel tweeted on Monday.

In what might have been a deliberate attempt to emphasize the point, the Israeli Embassy also shared a photo of a beach in Lakshadweep. This archipelago in the Arabian Sea is a sensitive topic for many Maldivians, as evidenced by derogatory remarks made by Maldivian ministers about Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he posted photos of himself snorkeling and enjoying the beaches in Lakshadweep. These comments were widely perceived as racist and sparked significant outrage in India, including calls to boycott the Maldives as a tourist destination.

 

The tourism-dependent Maldives could feel the impact of the Israeli ban keenly. The situation is already challenging, with Indian tourist numbers hitting a record low. Official data also indicates that the number of Israeli visitors to the Maldives has plummeted by 88 percent this year compared to the previous year.

 

The decision to ban Israeli passport holders appears to be driven by public anger over the ongoing conflict in Gaza and increasing pressure from opposition parties. President Mohamed Muizzu has established a subcommittee to oversee the implementation of this ban. Additionally, a national fundraising campaign titled "Maldivians in Solidarity with Palestine" has been launched to support the Palestinian people.

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