The role of tour guides has not been widely discussed in the literature, and neither has the policy that governs the place of tour guides in relation to the pilgrimage in the Holy Land. The Israeli Supreme Court (1987) has enabled pilgrims to guide without a licence, in clear opposition to the position of the Israeli Tour Guides’ Association. This led to a public ‘storm’, as a result of the tension between law, tourism, religion and state. It seems that the pilgrims’ debate is not over yet in Israel. This paper will try to analyse the court decision within a neo-institutionalism approach emphasising non-governability and alternative political culture as explanatory variables.
By analyzing the constitutive role of tour guides narratives, this article addresses the recruitment of tourism as a means of forging transnational ties between diasporans and their ethnic homeland. Combining theoretical frameworks from linguistic anthropology and the sociology of tourism, it examines the narratives told to American Jewish youth at three graves at a military cemetery in Israel and analyzes the discursive, linguistic, and rhetorical strategies in the narratives, including stancetaking, reported speech, and pronominal usage. Attending to the growing phenomenon of diaspora homeland tourism, it analyzes how tour guide narratives about the past work as a form of social action in constituting present day transnational identifications.