Israelis Can't Escape Troubles in World Travels

[AP/Washington Post] Aron Heller - For young Israeli men and women, a post-army sojourn overseas has become so common it is seen almost as much a rite of passage as military service itself. The beaches of Goa, India, are so immersed with Israeli backpackers that restaurants offer Hebrew-language menus. But with the recent unrest in India, the number of places safe for Israelis is rapidly shrinking. Much of the Middle East and the Arab world is already off limits and the government warns that the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt has been infiltrated by al-Qaeda. Even when traveling to safer venues, the government advises Israelis to keep a low profile. "If it's not attacks, it's anti-Semitism. It's not safe anywhere but that's no reason not to go," said Shiran Yousef, 20, who is about to depart to India. "If there are tourists there, there is no reason why we shouldn't go there." Arbel Altschuler, 21, who plans to head to India next week, said he would shy away from speaking Hebrew and would refrain from any outward symbols - such as Israeli markings on his backpack - that would identify him in touchy places. He said he would take the basic precautionary steps he has honed so well at home. "There is a price to being Israeli," he said. "It seems normal to me already, though. We have to be more careful than others, and we have to accept that."

2008-12-05 08:00:00

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