Israel continues to lose popularity in overseas vacation resorts. Israeli Consul in Athens Eli Sneh informed the Foreign Ministry that several groups of young Israelis have been expelled from hotels in the Greek island of Ios over the past few weeks for getting drunk and behaving in an unruly manner.
Three weeks ago a group of Israeli teenagers was kicked out of one of the hotels in Ios. Another group was expelled from an island hotel two weeks ago and the most recent incident occurred this week when a third group was kicked out of two hotels. All incidents involve Israeli teens visiting Greece in a pre-army trip.
According to the report, shortly after arriving at the Homer's Inn hotel in Ios this Sunday the Israelis got drunk and began spraying fire extinguisher fluid around the hotel. When asked to pay for the damages they caused the youths refused and began arguing and cursing.
A representative on behalf of the Issta travel agency was called in and transferred the five Jerusalem teens, three aged 18 and two aged 17, to the Mare Monte hotel, where they continued misbehaving and ruined a stack of towels. Once again they were kicked out and transferred to a third hotel. "We made it clear to them that should they continue their unruly behavior they would spend the rest of their holiday on the beach," an Issta representative said.
The travel agency noted that the parents of only one teen agreed to pay for the damages he caused.
One of the Mare Monte hotel employees described the Israelis' conduct: "All of the other guests complained about them. We told them to keep quiet. They settled down for a while but on the second night they began being loud again and also caused damage to property. The other guests came to the front desk and presented an ultimatum: 'Either the Israelis go or we go.' That's why they were kicked out."
Sneh said that the hotels which expelled the teens on Sunday have informed they would not be hosting anymore Israeli youths.
Sever damage to Israel's image
"These hooligans are causing serious damage to our image. We became entangled in unnecessary conflicts with the locals and resort to diplomacy to handle them," Sneh said. "The complaints we receive suggest these Israelis behaved abominably: Getting drunk, breaking things and behaving in a barbaric manner. We know that Israelis board flights back home utterly drunk, vomit and occasionally lose consciousness. We received complaints from the Santorini airport of such Israelis."
Ophir, a representative of one of the travel agencies used by young Israelis said that one of the major problems is that the youths are able to purchase alcohol in the duty free shops. "They arrive at the shops, the sales woman sees they're under 18 and won't serve them but they can ask their friends to buy alcohol for them. These kids leave Israel with 20 bottles of alcohol and when they reach the hotel they get plastered and run wild. Ios is a very small island, word of such cases spreads quickly and the damage is huge."
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said Monday that the teens must realize they are causing great damage which is difficult to mend.
Danny Sadeh contributed to this report