The 2015 edition of the New Israeli Wine Guide, a now-annual compilation of the best wines in Israel, does not include wineries in the Judea and Samaria area, Israeli’s official name for the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem.
The intentional omission, according to the Jewish Press, is due to the wineries’ geographic location within the occupied West Bank, a region that has been occupied by Israel since 1967.
Like the rest of Israel’s occupied territories, the Judea and Samaria area is not internationally recognized as Israeli territory, and has led to somewhat controversial measures like mandated origin labeling for occupied territories, such that food items produced within those regions are explicitly identified.
The exclusion of Judea and Samaria, however, appears to specifically target the region and not other debated territories, like the Golan Heights, which were included in the guide.
“In other words, only Judea and Samaria is out,” Ben Saadon, owner of Tura winery in Samaria, confirmed to the Jewish Press. The area has flourished over the last decade as a wine-growing region.
Speaking to Israel’s Channel 2 News, one of the wine guide’s editors, Yair Gath explained that the decision to leave out wines from Judea and Samaria was purely because of the region’s position outside the Green Line, the demarcation line set by the 1949 armistice agreements between Israel and its neighbors, drawn after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Another winemaker in the West Bank was also told, “Unfortunately we are not tasting in wineries across the green line.”