Monday, 18 January 1999

Midnight at the Oasis

January 18, 1999

MATTHEW KALMAN samples the Holy Land's most incongruous new attraction: the Oasis casino, Jericho's answer to Sun City

GAMBLING is not an activity traditionally associated with a trip to the Holy Land. The pursuit is illegal in Israel and throughout much of the Muslim Middle East.

Not so in Jericho, now governed by the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat. Thousands of years after the biblical prostitute Rahab helped Joshua tear down the walls of the most ancient city on earth, the streets of Jeri-cho are ringing with the cries of religious leaders warning against lewd behaviour and whoring.

The object of their concern is the Oasis, a $50 million complex which opened …

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