The average Israeli is far from perfect. The average Israeli tourist is even further away from perfect.
For years, Israelis traveling the world have not exactly given Israeli a good name. There are stories of theft from hotel rooms in Turkey – bathrobes and even the odd sink. There are stories of Israelis in third world countries yelling and cursing, bargaining over the equivalent of a couple of cents, simply in order to be able to tell their friends they were able to get the best price. I could go on and on, but the point is pretty clear – Israelis don’t have the greatest reputation abroad, and haven’t exactly done too much to improve that. This is not to say all Israeli tourists act horribly, or that even most do. Enough do, though, to create a deserved stereotype.
They say change starts at home, and Ynet reported today on what is definitely a good thing, but hopefully will spread and create a positive stereotype. Israelis love to travel, and since the Jewish calendar is Israel’s official calendar, Israelis are provided with numerous opportunities to travel around the country (in addition to the ironic habit many have to go to Sinai every Passover). According to Ynet (Hebrew), 800,000 Israelis decided to take advantage of this two day vacation by traveling around the country – hiking and visiting national parks and the JNF, the body responsible for Israeli national parks, noted a significant improvement in people cleaning up after themselves and picking up trash.
Let’s hope these acts are indicative of an overall positive trend, that Israeli will be more responsible tourists. Enough people hate us around the world already, we don’t need to give them any additional reasons.