A letter from an Australian backpacker to the average Israeli backpacker contains some painful truths. It’s called, A Letter to My Ugly Brother.

Yossi, Yonni, Yael … I’m not sure of your name, but I think you know who you are. You have a pair of Shoresh sandals on your feet, a big black backpack cover on your pack, and you like to check out Lametayel’s website for travel tips. Maybe you have just finished the army and are feeling tough enough to take on the world. At least, I hope you are, because you might not like some of the things I have to say. But what I am going to tell you, I assure you, is out of love.

Then, as my journey wore on, I recognized that there were in fact two types of Israelis: the good kind, and the bad. The “good” kind were incredibly friendly, funny and interesting. They also liked to go undercover – wear brands of sandals other than Shoresh and mix with the general backpacker community; whereas the “bad” kind were the ones yelling across hotels and making jokes at others’ expense.

Problem was, I realized, it was the loud, obnoxious type who were immediately identifiable as Israeli and giving the whole country a bad name.


Here’s a little travelogue about Israelis in Latin America to buttress the author’s point.

About the author



  • Hey, what about when Israeli tourists were ripping the fixtures out of the bathrooms of the hotel rooms in Turkey? Seriously, peeps were going home with sinks and faucets. I’m not sure he/she has had to recently, but the Tourism Minister used to make a statement every once in awhile telling everyone that they were representing Israel to the world and could they please be on their best behavior.

  • Ironic, because from my assessment, the Aussie Jews on my March of the Living trip were the most loud and obnoxious of all the groups. :-p

  • as an israeli (of the civilized type…), i really don’t think we’re worse travellers/tourists than. lets say, americans, or aussie’s, or germans.

    i don’t pretend all the israelis are ok abroad (nor all of them behave theirselfs here in israel), but hey – lets be honest, in any box of apples you can find some rotten fruits. there’s no need for as to defame israel and israelis (the author of the above letter, which by the way was publish in Ynet.co.il as well, is a jewish aussie). the fucking antisemites all over the world are doing quite a good job of defamation.


  • We have loads of experience with israeli backpackers, maybe we are biased because we are jews but…for the most part a great bunch of travelers that know how to enjoy themselves alone or in groups, they love our flower and fruit gardens and inground pool..
    and we dont serve pork!

  • Recently back from backpacking in S. America, I’ve found myself around even more Israeli’s than Brazilians, Argentinians etc – Totally agree two types of Israelis – NO MIDDLE GROUND. Heard this from travellers from Norway, Finland, Australia, UK, Germany … and what is up with the Israeli girls, never seen such wild cats!!! Foreign girls around Israeli man BEWARE!!!

  • 15 months of traveling around the world and i must have met two or three polite, considerate, backpacking israelis out of the 300+ i’ve encoutered -it’s as simple as that.
    yeah, yeah.. i know: it’s me, i’m racist, i’m not open minded, blah blah blah

  • I remember when I went backpacking in SE Asia, 90% of the Israeli backpackers I met were really rude and obnoxious, escpecially to the local people.

    I never spoke about it because I thaught I was being racist. But since then I spoken to many other travellers and read many articles like this on the web. Stereotypes sometimes exist for a reason.

  • Oh please you are being racist, they aint all that bad. They can be loud and sometimes like to negotiate but these are people that have lived lives on the edge in Israel and most are soldiers trying to escape all that bullshit. Be a little more open and stop trying to predict how people should or supposed to act. and come to http://www.bambuhostel.com in panama where all races and nations are accepted as one!

    • I do not comprehend why such volumes of Israelis behave so badly when away travelling. Perhaps the loud bad ones are the ones you notice but their reputation speaks for itself.

      I am never amused by the claim of racism when any criticism is made

      • Actually, the recent global ADL anti-Semitism poll demonstrated that some of the countries with the lowest rates of anti-Semitism are countries where Israelis routinely travel post-army, such as Thailand. Hate to burst another bubble.

  • Sorry but in 8 years of travelling I have met infinitely more shit Israeli backpackers than nice ones. I have met and travelled with 3 nice Israelis in that time. I also met 2 army refuseniks who I admired enormously.

    This is not an attempt to damn them with feint praise.

    The sad fact is the majority are idiots. Racists, arrogant, loud, penny pinching idiots who get people’s backs up wherever they go.

    Thai’s and Indians have no historical or religious prejudice against Israelis or Jewish people but there are now hostels and guesthouses in Thailand and India which say ‘On Israelis allowed.’ THAT is because of their behaviour.

    And what I really object to is that the majority have just served in one the world’s biggest human rights abusers – the IDF. An army which attacked Lebanon in 2006 and left 1500 people dead and Gaza last year leaving 1700 mainly civilians dead. I do not want to be near people who have just served that purpose.

    If you were in proximity to the Hitler Youth you would similarily disgusted. And this is not a black and white issue – of course the UK, the States, Australia etc produce awful tourists and travellers. They are dickheads too. It doesnt mean you have to tolerate it.

    I will be more tolerant of Israeli backpackers when I see more Palestinians travelling.

    I suspect I will wait in vain.

    • Philip? Did you really just compare IDF veterans to Hitler Youth? Wow. That is so off on so many different levels that I don’t even know where to begin. For instance, do you know that the current Pope was a member of the Hitler Youth? Are you disgusted when you travel in proximity to Catholics? I think what you were hoping to do was to make an analogy between the Nazis and the IDF. I know that between 1933 and 1945 when the Nazis were in power, the population of Jews in areas controlled by the Nazis was reduced by about 6 million people who were systematically murdered by said Nazis. Do feel free to look up the population figures for Arabs in areas controlled by the IDF in the last 61 years. Do the numbers demonstrate any evidence of deliberate and systematic genocide? Anything at all akin to what the Nazis did? I’ll admit that some Israelis are unpleasant and rambunctious. But that doesn’t make them Nazis! And in Bangkok in the Kao San Road backpacker neighborhood, the most common foreign languages on display are English and Hebrew. It didn’t seem to me as if the establishments there that cater to tourists were dissuading Israelis from patronizing them. Quite the contrary. It seemed as if they were actively marketing to Israelis. Hmm. Anyhow, your facts are all wrong and your perceptions utterly simplistic.

  • Phillip? Have you ever traveled outside of your parents basement?


    YOU ARE A TROLL!!! TROOOLL!!! YOU came here to dig up a 5 year old article just to piss people off you TROLL. Why dont you go back to your friends with Gems in their bellybuttons and go frolic under a bridge.

    Ignore the TROLL.

  • Israeli’s in my experience are a mixed bag, so are germans and americans. I wish i could say they are all great or they all suck that would be so easy if the world were that simple, as an owner of the bambu hostel in david panama we have had all types of backpackers come in here, our worst experience so far were drunkard aussies, yet some of the best were also aussies so there you go..

    stop being racist prejudiced anti semetic and etc, travelers are traveling they arent flying the flag of their country..

    through travel we learn peace, not war.

    mike esterson
    owner bambu hostel david panama
    ‘new with a pool’

  • I’ve backpacked solo all over the world on and off over the past 15 years and have met quite a few of the “good” Israelis in my travels. What makes them “good”, in my opinion, is that they tend to be travelling alone or in pairs — not as part of an insular pack. When I travel, I don’t WANT to meet people from my own country, but many Israelis seem to feel quite the opposite. I think more than 2 or 3 backpackers travelling together from ANY country — especially non-English-speaking countries — tend to mix less with their fellow travellers, be louder, and generally make a worse impression than us quiet singletons. I don’t think the problem is that Israeli travellers are by nature more obnoxious than the rest of us — it’s that many Israelis seem to prefer the company of other Israelis when they travel.

  • I think we all have to face the Truth and reality,especially,Israelis and Jews worldwide: Beyond all measure,Israelis are without question the most disliked traveller’s anywhere in the world,and the reason is self explanitory: Racist, xenophobic disrespectful, cheap, loud,
    base,and largely by the rest of the worlds standards,immoral and nasty.
    And this,my friends,is the roots of so called “anti-semitism”,a phrase that discredits its own meaning when defined.Alas,I too am obviously,a National Socialist,for speaking against the Choosen.
    Cool,sane Israelis travel alone,so as not to be associated with the failure of their own. As an American I do the same.There is no debate: Thailand has spoken,Israeli travellers,as a rule and in majority,suck.

    • I love it when people come here to preach to us about the “roots of anti-semitism” while putting anti-semitism in quotes.

  • I personally love having Israelis at our hostel. In fact, The Purple House hostel (David City, Panama) was named in honor of the original Purple House Hostel which was located in Tel Aviv in the 1980’s. Israeli’s get a bad rap, but I believe that it is still based in anti-semitism. Sure, there are assholes from every nationality, but I tell you what…if I was on the road with a problem, the Israeli’s pull through in a crisis. Never caught an Israeli stealing either. And as far as negotiating prices, again…anti-semitism…Israelis just want to know what they get for what they are paying…and if you give them a fair price, they will never try to negociate.

  • Fuck Jews and israel backpackers are fucking worthless to the world of travel. Backpackers should be all killed as well.

  • I saw this in the front door of a little hostel in the middle of a lost town in southern Patagonia, Chile: “No Israelis allowed, thank you”
    Why do you think that is?
    I asked the owner and he told me that even though he had met nice Israeli people, they weren’t the disrespectfull kind of brats he had to bear for almost a year. Young backpackers thinking they were the owners of the world, yelling, making “jokes” ( once, a group of Israeli boys entered the room of a Canadian girl at 4 am in the morning and tried to get into her bed, for example) and being highly agressive as they were requested to change their behaviour.
    It is very sad, because I’ll always remember Yael and Nicole, wonderful people. They don’t deserve to be declared as non welcome people just because of some stupid boys.

  • Hi friends, after so many discussions I would strongly say few opinions about Israeli’s. We run a cheap homestay in the city of (Calcutta) India named Crazy Wanderers (www.crazywanderers.com) where several Israeli come and stay here for months. We get Israeli backpackers from places like Tel Aviv Jaffa,Eilat,Haifa,Nazareth,Ashkelon,Safed and many others. WE have never see any Israeli making any bad behaviour, they are always very friendly, funloving, peaceful and joyful. We have our own volunteers service and they serve as volunteers for months. I deal with a lot of backpackers for our Jungle tours and also Ayurevda and Meditation and city tours. They would drink and smoke but never disrespect anyone. They are are lovliest guest my guesthouse have ever got. I would always welcome backpackers from Israel to come to Kolkata and have a lovely time here.



  • an Israeli backpacker in India bought a container of milk from a street vendor. Later the same day, he tried to return it, complaining it was off, which was not surprising considering it was nearly 40c and he had not refrigerated the milk. The Israeli demanded his money back and created a huge fuss over what amounted to be a small amount of money. He was very unreasonable as it was his own fault for not consuming the milk straight away.
    It was a game to him, to penny-pinch and bully.
    There are plenty of other examples of Israelis displaying arrogance and insensitivity, both to fellow travellers and locals alike.
    I cannot stand to be near them and wish they would stay in Israel/Palestine.

  • When I first visited India in 2001, an aussie tourist said “If I never see another Israeli again,” which I though was a bit extreme. Shortly after, for the third time in a row I asked another group of Israelis to turn down their music, which was playing as loud as possible at 3am. They refused and were ready to fight for their right to keep people awake all night long.

    That’s actually a bad example of Israelis as I’ve had many Israelis friends, who also seek to distance themselves form their younger counterparts fresh out of the army. I’ve attended Israeli religious events in Dharamsala, and was made to feel fully welcome.

    The younger Israeli crowd, just like the young British tourist crowd(I’m English), is best avoided if you want to travel trouble free.
    But implying that all of Israel gos around taking drugs and being rude, is like implying that all of England gos around getting drunk and smashing the place up.

  • Everytime you say something abouth Jewish you have to be called an anti-semit. But when you speak about other nations, it’s ok to tell the truth! Maybe the Israeli have a special history, it doesn’t allow them to be that rude ! They make my holidays a nightmare.