Cypriot officials boot out four Israeli tourists for inappropriate behavior
Israelis tend to use the local consulate as a sort of big brother away from home.
By SHELLY PAZ
Four young Israeli tourists were recently expelled from Cyprus for inappropriate behavior shortly after they landed there.
In one incident, two young Israelis waiting on line at the Larnaka terminal began pushing wildly and even made a rude gesture to a local policeman who interfered. In another occurrence, two Israelis became raucous even before landing, drinking and creating a disturbance on board the plane taking them to Cyprus.
In both cases, Cypriot officials had the youths deported.
The father of one of the young Israelis told The Jerusalem Post on the Monday that he was determined to rebuke his son. "I don't believe someone there had an agenda to harass them with no reason and I don't think the Cypriots are to blame.
"I think the general atmosphere in Israel is that everything is permitted, and the fact that today's young people don't listen to anyone and don't accept authority cause this sort of behavior."
The Israeli consul in Cyprus Amnon Israel told the Post that "the Cypriots try to be understanding, and they don't want to lose the Israeli tourism business of about 50,000 vacationers a year, but sometimes they have no choice but to act in response."
Sometimes the misbehavior reaches dangerous proportions. There have been lethal accidents in previous years and this year, according to the consul, at least 25 young Israelis were detained for driving off-road vehicles while drunk or without a helmet.
"The Israelis are not the only troublemakers. The difference is that unlike other tourists who get into trouble and pay their fines, the Israelis refuse to pay. They often don't have the money, and sometimes they don't even realize they are breaking the laws of the country they are vacationing in," he said.
Amnon Kalmar, director of the Department for Israelis Abroad at the Foreign Ministry, said Monday that the majority of Israelis who got into legal trouble abroad were either working illegally in countries like the US and Japan or misbehaving youth in popular resort destinations like Cyprus, Greece or Turkey.
"Most of the time these are young tourists who get into trouble, and we have limited tools to help them," said Kalmar, adding that there is an encouraging feeling recently of a decrease in the number of awkward incidents.
Israelis tend to use the local consulate as a sort of big brother away from home, said Kalmar.
"I have served as a consul in several countries and none of my colleagues did the same things the Israeli envoys do. The Israelis turn to us with their biggest problems and their smallest ones. Not long ago an Israeli parent called me and asked me to assist his son who fell off his bicycle and was slightly hurt in Amsterdam, or someone who didn't want to pay the overweight fee on an airplane and called us to help him out and to contact the airline," Kalmar said.
On the positive side, Kalmar noted, the Foreign Ministry sponsors volunteer programs to promote Israel's image among the world's nations. For example, a group of Israelis will leave shortly to Cambodia to work in the community, to teach the locals English and to aid the impoverished population.
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