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      Scores of Israeli Tourists Arrested for Fucking Shit Up in Peru

      Scores of Israeli Tourists Arrested for Fucking Shit Up in Peru Scores of Israeli Tourists Arrested for Fucking Shit Up in Peru Scores of Israeli Tourists Arrested for Fucking Shit Up in Peru
      Photo via Flickr

      Peru

      Scores of Israeli Tourists Arrested for Fucking Shit Up in Peru

      By Olivia Becker

      Peruvian officials arrested over 60 young, mostly Israeli, backpackers on Tuesday after they partied a little too hard on the site of ancient Incan ruins.

      Volunteers reportedly called the police after being awoken by loud music, orgies, and general debauchery coming from the Israelis’ camping site at the archeological site of Sacsayhuaman, just outside Cuzco, Peru. The group was mostly from Israel but also included some Argentines.

      Many of the backpackers were allegedly in possession of alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine. They also reportedly left trash strewn around the site — which was closed to the public — and stole ancient artifacts. Officers also recovered several bottles of spray paint.

      Some of the tourists were also reportedly caught having sex in the basement rooms of a building that was used for meditation.

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      These arrests come at an especially bad time for the suspects, considering that all of Israel's embassies are currently closed around the world, with no diplomatic representatives available to bail out their citizens abroad.

      As of Monday, Israel’s Foreign Ministry went on a general strike, in protest at working conditions and compensation for employees.

      These partygoers were among the estimated 30-40,000 Israelis traveling overseas every year, the vast majority of whom are between the ages of 20 and 24, and recently released from the military.

      "When we travel after the army, we feel like there are no limits and rules to what we can do, the sky is the fuckin' limit."

      Incidents such as the one in Peru are not uncommon. Two months ago four Israelis were arrested for starting a bonfire in a Chilean national park.

      It is considered an Israeli rite of passage for many young ex-soldiers to travel to relatively cheap destinations such as South East Asia, India, South America, and Africa, and spend between six months to a year backpacking, working in hostels, or just plain partying.

      Israelis are conscripted into mandatory military service at 18 and spend either two years (for women) or three years (for men) in the Israeli Defense Forces. They are then released with a stipend of up to 15,000 shekels (about $4,300).

      A documentary entitled Flipping Out by the filmmaker Yoav Shamir explores this tradition of young ex-soldiers traveling and partying as a way to deal with the post-traumatic stress disorder that many experience after they leave the military. Young Israelis travel to India or Thailand as a way to forget about the previous years spent in the military and often end up, well, flipping out.

      “The main reason we do it is to clear our heads,” Nissim Yaltzindeg, an ex-IDF soldier who spent a year working on a cruise ship sailing around the Mediterranean and South Africa after he left the military, told VICE News. “Three years in the army is too damn long, and therefore I think the best word for this would be ‘escapism’ — from reality.”

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      India, especially Goa, is a popular destination for Israeli tourists looking for a sunny and carefree locale where they can decompress from their time in the military. Goa has become so popular that there are Israeli restaurants, hostels, and synagogues catering exclusively to the crowd that travels there every year.

      “When we travel after the army, we feel like there are no limits and rules to what we can do, the sky is the fuckin' limit,” added Yaltzindeg, who left the military in 2008. “We're free in mind and spirit to do so, far away from any controlling or judging eye.”

      But not everyone has the same carefree attitude towards this post-army rumspringa. Incidents of debauchery, such as the one in Peru, have become common among traveling Israelis, who have earned a reputation for their alcohol- and drug-fueled partying in developing and third-world countries.

      Not surprisingly, many of the people who actually live in these host countries are less than pleased with the behavior that comes with hordes of 20-something Israelis looking to blow off steam.

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      A report published by Council for Social Justice and Peace (the "social work wing" of the Catholic Archdiocese of Goa), entitled "Claiming the Right to Say No: A Study of Israeli Tourist Behavior and Patterns in Goa," outlines some of the issues the region has faced. "One can also notice many unbecoming activities like flesh trade, drug abuse, rave parties, and crimes like rapes, murder, making hay as the sun of tourism refuses to set on our land,” the report states, in addition to “substantial displacement of the locals."

      Although the desire to spend a year dropping acid and taking yoga classes in an Indian ashram is understandable, it is ultimately not free of consequence, and the countries that serve as the playground for this behavior often end up having to clean up the mess. But in places such as India, where tourism is a vital part of the economy, these visitors also bring with them an economic boost that many locals rely on for their income.

      Follow Olivia Becker on Twitter: @obecker928

      Photo via Flickr

      Topics: drugs, military, india, sex, israel, idf, goa, cuzco, peru, acid, debauchery, inca, rumspringa

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