Netanyahu attended the premiere at Paramount Studios of
"Israel: The Royal Tour," a one-hour U.S. public television
special that is being broadcast this week.
The U.S.-educated Israeli leader played tour guide to the
program's host, U.S. travel journalist Peter Greenberg when the
project was shot in Israel in 2012.
Netanyahu attended the event a day after White House talks with
President Barack Obama that focused on the Israeli-Palestinian
peace process and international efforts to prevent Iran,
Israel's arch-enemy, from developing nuclear weapons.
Addressing the crowd, Netanyahu said he not only wanted to
promote Israeli tourism but also, "to dispel the various
calumnies about the State of Israel and to show the real face of
the Jewish state."
Israel enjoyed its best year of tourism in 2013, with a record
3.5 million visitors, including 623,000 from the United States.
The industry contributed about $11.4 billion to the Israeli
economy last year, according to the Tourism Ministry, which has
said it hopes the TV show will bring in an additional 200,000
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In the "Royal Tour," Netanyahu guided Greenberg around
popular tourist sites such as Jerusalem's walled Old City, Tel
Aviv and the ancient desert fortress of Masada.
The Old City was on the itinerary, but Bethlehem, the traditional
site of Jesus' birth, was not. The Old City is in a part of
Jerusalem that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and
annexed, in a move that has not won international recognition.
Bethlehem, a popular destination for Christian pilgrims, is
administered by the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank.
Filming the "Royal Tour" was not without mishap. Netanyahu tore a
tendon while playing in a friendly soccer match between Arab and
Jewish youths that took place within the framework of the program,
and had to wear a cast for several weeks.
(Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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