Tourists give Israel bad name
Trying to put out the fire in Chile
The controversy over the Rotem Singer affair, where an Israeli tourist was suspected of starting a wildfire at Chile's Patagonia national park Torres del Paine back in January, refuses to die out.
In the new edition of the Lonely Planet Travel Guide's chapter on Chile, Israeli tourist get 'special treatment.' Alongside the dangers of local earthquakes, volcano eruptions, urban crimes and sand flies, it seems there is a new nuisance in South America – the loud Israeli tourist.
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According to the guide, the Israeli hiker shows no respect for local norms and bothers other tourists.
Meanwhile, "Caras," one of Chile's most popular magazines, published an article on Israeli tourists in Patagonia, claiming there is an Israeli conspiracy to take over the region by sending young Israelis, fresh out of the army and suffering from sociological traumas, all the way to Chile.
The article notes their hooligan-like behavior, basing its claims on local testimonies by business owners who said Israelis do not pay for the services they receive, litter and are generally noisy.
Fire rages at Torres del Paine National Park (Photo: AFP)
In response, Israel's Ambassador to Chile, David Dadon, wrote a scathing letter to the South American magazine, slamming what he believed was "discrimination against Israeli tourists."
In addition, the Israeli embassy in Chile reported that the local Channel 13 television station aired an interview with a former representative of an environmental group who claimed that "young Israelis are sent here as part of a governmental plan after their military service."
The embassy demanded, and was immediately granted, a chance to speak on Channel 13 to counter these allegations. Ambassador Dadon linked such ideas to Neo-Nazism, saying he was sorry such notions were acceptable on such a well-known television station.