Backlash against Isrealis

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#1 Apr 19th, 2004, 19:16
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World News > Drugs, wild time lures Israeli bagpackers to India

Jerusalem, Apr 18 (IANS) :

Thousands of Israelis travelling to India each year are inspired not so much by its religious trappings but by drugs, trance parties and exclusivity, a Israeli researcher has said.

The visitors do not fan out to the regular tourist hubs in India, but retreat to a few villages and centres along the Himalayan foothills, says the study published in the local media.

The Israelis staying in these areas -- who at any given time could constitute as much as 90 percent of local tourist population -- are creating a cultural discord with their behaviour and conduct, it claimed.

The study, conducted by doctoral student Deriya Maoz with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, claims the young Israeli, most of them fresh out of the compulsory three-year military service, display indifference, if not contempt, towards their Indian hosts.

Some 50,000 Israelis visit India each year. The researcher, however, claims that there was a discontent simmering among the locals over the condescending and "neo-colonial" attitude of these bagpackers.

Her study is based on three visits to India where she spent weeks living among the backpackers. Apart from a few spiritual trappings, most had no knowledge of India and rejected outward symbols of Indian culture, she said.

Indian cabin walls are plastered with Hebrew advertisements of trance parties.
Hebrew is the lingua franca in these "enclaves", and restaurants offer menus in Hebrew. Even the Indians serving Israelis often speak fluent Hebrew.

Locals -- who are dependent on the Israeli presence for their livelihood -- refrain from reporting the matter to the police even when raucous Israeli drug parties disturb their peace, local Indian residents interviewed by her said.

On the basis of these interviews she claims that there was a possibility of an "Indian backlash" if the discord continued any further.

Israel's consul in Mumbai Yaron Meir, who acknowledged the problem, said the embassy was ill equipped to deal with it.

The problem represents a "cultural clash between peaceful Indian values and a loud and noisy Israeli herd behaviour," the Haartez daily quoted Meir as saying.

Indian Embassy spokesman Shubrata Das was quoted as saying that no complaints had reached Tel Aviv.

"India was a big country and the cases referred to by Maoz were most likely isolated. They should not be exaggerated and were unlikely to upset our strong ties with Israel," he said.
#2 Apr 19th, 2004, 19:23
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An interesting article and I think a valid topic of conversation
It has almost been turned into a taboo subject by claims that anyone who makes such remarks are anti-semitic. Clearly an easy way to silence criticism of the actions of young Israelis in India South East Asia and other areas of the world.

It seems that whilst travelling there is one group who come in for criticism more than anyother from almost every other nationality including the local population.

I wont go on or give examples but I think this is a very valid topic that should be discussed.

It would be itneresting to hear from Israelis who frequent the site on their views also.

Many other travellers feel the young Israelis are like the young Brits who takeover the Costa Del Sol and Balleric islands each summer ...
Then let us pray that come it may
(As come it will for a' that),
That Sense and Worth o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree an a' that.
For a' that, an a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That man to man, the world, o'er
Shall brithers be for a' that.
- Burns
#3 Apr 19th, 2004, 21:08
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Re: Backlash against Isrealis

Quote:
Originally posted by sillylilly
World News > Drugs, wild time lures Israeli bagpackers to India

"India was a big country and the cases referred to by Maoz were most likely isolated. They should not be exaggerated and were unlikely to upset our strong ties with Israel," he said.
A typical bureaucratic reaction ! Such responses deserve stronger condemnation than the Israelis' behaviour!

Instead of addressing problems which everyone knows exist; these dipomats refuse to even acknowledge them for political reasons!!
Whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to shop !
#4 Apr 20th, 2004, 01:02
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>"Her study is based on three visits to India where she spent weeks living among the backpackers"

Poor woman. I wonder if it was a participatory research.

I met a few pretty smart Israelis on my trip, haven't seen much groups, but I bet they're just as noisy and obnoxious as us Dutchies, or the Brits or the Germans when on holiday in groups. The problem occurs when the locals allow the character of their towns/villages change for tourism - be it groups of Israelis or others. The eternal question - do we want the clash with the cash?
'To see the world in a grain of sand; and heaven in a wild flower; to hold infinity in the palm of your hand; and eternity in an hour'
#5 Apr 20th, 2004, 01:40
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Re: Backlash against Isrealis

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Thousands of Israelis travelling to India each year are inspired not so much by its religious trappings but by drugs, trance parties and exclusivity, a Israeli researcher has said.
I am sure there is a problem with many of the Israelis in India, as I suspect there is a Dutch problem, an Australian problem, etc. But almost everybody I met in India, from all nationalities, was nice. True I didn't hang around raves and stuff, which might give locals reason to complain. There are Israelis all over Kerala doing very ordinary cultural touring. I met several of them and they were not "creating cultural discord."

The fact that the article so easily states that Israelis single out India "for wild times instead of religious trappings" makes me think that its goal is simply to bash Israelis. Who goes to India for religious reasons? Only a minority; I myself go for its culture, its people, for stuff way beyond religion.

The case is that Israelis are not welcome in many countries between Israel and India, by virtue of the fact that these countries are religious dictatorships. So they go to India for fun and warmth in the winter, not just trance parties. They don't get blown up in India the way they have in Kenya.

A possible backlash against Israelis (or tourists in general) in India could be very costly to its civil rights, its freedom, its general development. Just like here in the US we run the risk of losing our civil rights if we start rounding up people who look like terrorists, if India starts rounding up young people, or Israelis, it would be a sad loss for freedom in India and in the world.

But despite this article incendiary commonplaces, like its use of the word "neo-colonialism", that can stir anyone's anger, it might be important to heed some of its warnings, and if some of what it says is true, maybe the Israeli consulate should get its act together. I guess you're right, Shimla, there's all this bureaucracy and too many people profit for anyone to do anything about it before tempers really flare.
#6 Apr 20th, 2004, 03:38
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In Goa i found that the Israelis mainly seemed to stick together in big groups and didn't on the whole become friendly with folks of a different origin.
I did meet a few who seemed nice enough but i must admit to feeling pretty cross with the attitude that they showed to Indians.I don't know if this is some sort of cultural thing or if the people that i saw and heard were just having a bad day.All i know is that i was mortified and thought it was bloody cheeky to say the least!
Also the party posters were in hebrew thus saying that nobody but Israelis could go to the parties!Hmff
I don't like to generalise cos i hate it when folk say that us Scots are stingey and always pissed! buti'm just saying what my admittedly limited experience showed me.
To all you very nice Israeli people -apologies but this is the sort of impression that your countrymen/women are giving.

Cat
#7 Apr 20th, 2004, 04:07
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I could write a 1000 page thesis on this, I'll try making this short. Like Tomi pointed out it could be a problem of any nationality (funny I found the Dutch in his list though) so why single out Israelis here and like Bryan mentions, indeed the Israelis are to India what the Brits are to Costa Del Sol or any other nice part of Spain, numerous, boisterous, force their language upon the locals etc etc. that study was also conducted by an Israeli who I reckon was a lot more liberal with bashing her fellowmen. I mean imagine mpop here came forth with those findings ) we would have all made life hell for her a while.
I am not all praise for the Israelis here, I've had my experiences but I really can't bother complaining, India has taught me to be a lot less more mindful and very accomodating. Israelis are surely the meanest spenders I've come across in India or elsewhere, my partner always giggles and translates when an israeli goes "so much??". Two incidents that come to mind are driving around 4 Israeli blokes desperate for some nightlife in Bangalore, probably did around 50 miles or more entertaining their curiosity and they couldn't even bother offering to pay part of the dinner bill. 4:2 was the ratio. The other is my partner's friend who came to spend a month with us, she used to stash away her scones and chocolates in her backpack LOL, that was hilarious, nevertheless I was offered the same when she wanted to consume them. I am truly eager for some Israeli here to decipher that for me. My partner didn't find it strange, she was in boarding school and also claimed the habit exists till the army.
The situation here is very similar to the Sumo lads , who arrive drunk, get pished, attempt chatting up every female in sight and leave, the Brits in Ibiza or Napa , very similar to the Sumo lads in India or mini flag bearing middle aged Scandinavians who sing something patriotic (nothing like ABBA I swear) at dinner tables, giving everyone else around a very embarrasing experience. The way I see it if that's what gives them their kicks , so be it. Let's not try tuning them to be like us, this world would get too boring.

Alas, the worst behaviour by any measure by tourists in India that I came across was from a bunch of English blokes who went about squeezing bottoms, forcibly hugging any girl that passed by, tossing empty beer bottles about and raising their fist at any male that objected. For all that could be said about Israelis, that one Israeli bloke who had these 5 men threatening him for objecting their advances toward his partner, he didn't go and bring reinforcement. That would have been something to watch. Try imagining a 7:3 ratio in favour of Israelis, the 3 being all other non Israelis.

FFC, you wouldn't want to befriend a group or even two Israelis, they'll blether away in Hebrew and make your life miserable, I lived it a month and found myself frequenting pubs more often than I liked to,
#8 Apr 20th, 2004, 05:11
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...Also the party posters were in hebrew thus saying that nobody but Israelis could go to the parties!...
I know what you mean, Cat, and I hate exclusion too. But let us admit that we Americans and Brits have the most monolingual (English-only) feelings of anybody. I have witnessed local boors in the subway here shouting at people speaking Spanish or French the "speak English, you're in America!" line.

Pooch, I also like your generous line of "let's not try tuning them to be like us, this world would get too boring." I think that guests should respect the local customs, etc., but hosts too should understand that these people come from places with different customs and enjoy that too. The fact that every tourist in France doesn't first say "bonjour" before every transaction at the supermarket or bank does not mean that they are impolite. They have other cultural formulas to express politeness and gratitude. (and...I have Dutch relatives )

I don't want to detract from the main thread here, that of boorish behavior by tourists. I'm just trying to temper the natural instinct to have knee-jerk negative reactions to intruders into our world.
#9 Apr 20th, 2004, 12:41
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#9
I am very happy about this thread.
I have read the original article by Daria Maoz a few times, and had doubts whether I should open a thread on this subject or not. I was not so sure my own Israeli complex will interest you all, and was a little discouraged by CyberHippie's: "...Oh no Not the israeli question is again!!
Quick quick another joke !!!" in his nice "Joke for the day" thread.

As an Israeli, I am very sensitive about this subject, specially when it comes to India, which is so dear to my heart.
I am sensitive about it because there is a problem!
Because "typical" Israeli behavior can be seen, and easily recognized, many times in many places, and not in a good way.
Of course generalization is something to avoid, and I can tell you I suffered my share of bad attitude and prejudice both from travelers of other nationalities and from locals in India/Nepal/Thailand, which was the result of bad experiences with Israelis, and nevertheless unfair and caught me in a "Daaa... but what did I do? " position. I can never justify such stereotypical evaluation of people of any origin, but it is very natural and I do understand where it comes from. Anti-semitism? give me a break! that's not remotely the issue, and by the way I have never personally heard criticism of Israeli behavior replied to with this argument. Anyway it's B/S.
Examples of other nationality travelers being obnoxious do not make me feel any better, only as to understand it is not political or other anti-israel motivated criticism.
I have often found the behavior of some Israelis rude, noisy, inconsiderate, impolite, conceited, audacious, ill-mannerred and sometimes downright nasty.
I have my reservations about the Israeli ghetto mentality - gather in big groups, form uninviting communities, speak only hebrew, listen to loud Israeli pop music as if this is your own place, teach locals hebrew, use hebrew menus with Israeli food items... I would like to see any traveler trying to minimize the effect they make on places they visit.
I have found myself more than once confronting Israelis about their behavior, trying to explain a little traveler-etiquette, being angry at them for making me feel ashamed, for causing me damage in the long run, not to mention the damage inflicted upon other travelers or local folk. Alas I found I cannot educate a whole people by getting irritated myself, so I now try to avoid these confrontations, but sometimes I just can't help it.
As someone who has been to India several times and love it, I conduct lectures to people who want to go and seeking info and motivation, mostly young and out-of-the-army (some still in uniform and counting the days). I always find the time to talk and explain about these things - and hope that my contribution there counts for something in the big scheme of things.
Israeli behavior outside of Israel is a big issue here in israel, not only in the past few years and not only in India, giving us bad reputation around the world. There is a campaign called "ambassadors of good will" (free translation) to incourage people to behave in a compensating manner.
It is important to say that many Israelis (In India the majority the way I saw it), are nice people with good intentions and their own love for traveling and for the locals, people I generally have no problem with. What stands out is loud behavior of many others.
I also found that some things frowned upon by "you westerners" are fine by me and I could argue about them, as India is not Europe/USA/Australia and you have to be street-wise (and bazaar-wise) - and the same things are sometimes frowned upon by local people simply because they do not get to scam us for as much money as they do you.
I have many more things to say, but I will reserve them as to not wear you out.
I will just conclude with the not-so-optimistic notion that the root of the problem, of this behavior, is deep and will not be really solved until some serious issues will find solution here in Israel, and I do not see that coming in the near future.
Thank you for your posts. I am eager to hear more and please - don't be too politically correct - let it out.
#10 Apr 20th, 2004, 13:38
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#10
Yes, Israelies have a reputation. But in fairness, as was written by some Pooch, and Tomi, so do other nationalities.
First time I met a group of Israelis I was taken aback by their "arogance", and angry behaviour. In my opinion they aren't the nicest when they travel in groups. Well, I just leave them alone.
I do understand it must be tough living in Israel. 3-year military service, never knowing when you might be blown up (or is it more media that portraits it so?). So, they want to chill. Cool.
I do know I was so suprised when I met some really nice Israelis; not all ot them at the same time. They either travelled in pairs or were single travelers. Still, it shows to prove how I just expect all of them to be rude. These young Israelis were really, really nice people
#11 Apr 20th, 2004, 13:39
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Hmm.so finally the topic is here...This topic was doing rounds among frequest travellers (both indian and foreign) for quite sometime.
This discussion about Israelis in India has many been rising especially from last 3-4 years.
I never had any experience of my own may be I being 'informed', avoided the large israeli groups of travellers. But have many stories about them from other travellers and friends in the travel business.
Infact I did meet a friendly Israeli traveller in Manali.He was not moving in a large group, was not loud, was polite, and was trying to understand the Indian culture and looked seriouly interested. I was surprised to know later that he was from Israel.
So, I don't think we can generalise to a large extent but maybe its a 'herd' mentality that works more when they travel in a group rather than individual traits.
One incident I remember was 2 years back, when I and my friends were doing Manali-leh on Enfields. On the way, somewhere near Sarchu we met 2 brits on Enfield with a flat tire. We stoped and helped in getting it fixed..we did lose 2 hours in this but then when you are travelling, especially on that road...everyone is a friend. When we were all back on the road, one of them told that they tried asking for help from an Israeli group (on Enfields)..but they not only did not help them but went off making fun of them. Later we met up with this group of Israelis in Leh..they were really loud in the main bazar....
After 2 days we hear that one of them was beaten up by the locals..Locals of Leh are Soooo friendly and tollerent..I can hardly imagine them shouting..leave beating..He must have done something really bad to make them angry....

Second Incident is from Manali (one of their Fav hangouts)..One big group of Israelis take one full house on rent in a village outside Manali. They had rave parties everyday..they made the locals drink and smoke (charas/ganga) with them...sometimes this was going on & on for 24 hours...one of the local's condition was so bad after this that he had to be hospitalised...

But things are getting bad..and locals..no longer want their business. In Manali locals are refusing to let their houses and hotels to Israelis....and this may turn even worse in this coming season.
In the end I'll still give the benifit of doubt to Israelis....I trust all the human beings on the earth are good. but its just the 'strength' that they feel while in a big group...they feel powerful...that makes them act differently.
If Life is a journey....travel on...and on..on..on.....
#12 Apr 20th, 2004, 14:13
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#12
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Originally posted by Dakota
I do understand it must be tough living in Israel. 3-year military service, never knowing when you might be blown up (or is it more media that portraits it so?). So, they want to chill. Cool.
I do know I was so suprised when I met some really nice Israelis; not all ot them at the same time. They either travelled in pairs or were single travelers. Still, it shows to prove how I just expect all of them to be rude. These young Israelis were really, really nice people
It's not only the media - beleive you me. Things are not good. I watch foreign media (CNN, BBC, Sky news) and it almost never comes close to describing what we Israelis are going through, probably because the palestinians are the weaker side in the conflict, thus more easy to identify with.
That said, harsh reality here in Israel serves no excuse for treating others badly.

It is encouraging (yet not surprising when I think of it), to see that nice individuals leave their mark, and form some counter-effect to those who are... well... less nice.
#13 Apr 20th, 2004, 14:45
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#13
The Israelis in India thing has been around for quite some time.

A few times in India I have seen people go to a hotel and get asked "What country are you from?", if the answer is Israel the hotel is "Full". Other nationalities get the big welcome smile.

I have also insisted a restaurant owner kick out a bunch of israelis who where being very agressive. They were booted with the help of some locals. I have heard of restaurants that demand payment up front.

The problem is the clash of cultures. Indians don't understand the agressive Israeli way, and Israelis see Indians as being people who are week and are not standing up to them.

I tend to avoid groups of Israelis. Arguing restaurant bills and trying to split the cost of a taxi is something I would rather pay to avoid an argument. I don't enjoy being shouted at.

I get the feeling Isaelis stay in groups and are the way they are because they are scared. It is quite amazing what fear will drive people to do and how it will make them act. Fear that is drummed into them through the TV and military training. You can appear strong and mighty and people will not mess with you, or appear as not a threat and people will leave you alone.

The Israelis in India are generally young, they have learnt how to deal with people in a very limited set of ways, they are scared and visiting a foreign country for, what is for many, the first time out of their home country.

Now the Australians in Bali ............
#14 Apr 20th, 2004, 15:33
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#14
Baisab,
I think it is unsafe and scary to live in Israel. What a shame. Though my former colleague, who's currently working in Israel, says it is safe. He thinks "it feels quite safe. Also there are 6 million people in this country, so the likelihood to be hit by a bomb is rather low!". I think that's quite optimistic.

But yes, some really nice individuals left a really nice impression on me last year in Leh. Really beautiful people.

On the other hand, many local (Ladakhi) friends on mine did say Israelis (on a whole) are not the most popular, and many do say their GH is full just so they would not have to deal with them.

In Diskit, a young Israeli girl said a group of maybe 6 individuals will take a double room. I was surprised and said the owner might not let them all stay in one room (it's his income after all), but she brushed me aside with, "I don't care. I won't tell him." I said nothing, just thought, OK. I mean, what you say. It's definitely not worh getting into an argument.

One a positive note: I had a really nice, friendly talk with an educated, helpful, friendly, young Israeli on the bus rooftop on the way to Hemis, for the festival.

People are angy when they are afraid.
#15 Apr 20th, 2004, 18:05
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#15
On this forum, we should condemn boorishness directed to our Indian hosts.
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