'Ex-Israeli soldiers holidaying in Goa are dehumanised'

The Roman Catholic Church in Goa Monday said the Israeli youth who vacation in Goa after serving their compulsory stint in the army were ''dehumanised''.

In an open letter of solidarity addressed to the Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre and Kairos in Palestine, the Council of Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), a social arm of the influential Catholic church in Goa, has also expressed a desire to make a tangible difference to the "sufferings of Palestinians".

"Three years ago, for the first time, we sprung into action when we decided to study the issue of Israelis who had completed their term in the IDF and who turned up on the shores of Goa to overlook and disregard their actions while on military duty," CSJP executive secretary Maverick Fernandes said in his open letter which has been released to the media.

"Our study revealed how dehumanised these young people had become and how, because of an oppressive and cruel system of illegal military occupation, even the victimisers had turned casualties and victims of their own cruelties," he further said.
The study, referred to by Fernandes was compiled in 2009 on the basis of field inputs by young priests-in-waiting who hit Goa's narcotics party scene "undercover". It was subsequently released by Goa's Archbishop Father Filipe Neri Ferrao, the spiritual leader of the more than four lakh Christians in Goa and painted a sorry picture of young Israelis vacationing in Goa.

"The night here never ends. They (Israelis) just party with trance music and get intoxicated with drugs and alcohol. They kiss and touch each other openly. They also appear to switch partners," according to Brother Manuel D'Souza, who was a part of the "undercover survey".

The 96 page-book is titled "Claiming the right to say no: A study of Israeli tourist behaviour and patterns in Goa". A few lines in a chapter 'The Sababa experience' read: "Can you imagine young boys killing people? They (Israelis) go mad while in the services. The government sends these people to relaxation hubs. One of them is Goa."
In another chapter, Brother Onasis D'Cruz accuses Israelis of creating tourist ghettos in the state. "They (Israelis) are a nuisance to everybody in and around Palolem (a popular beach in south Goa). Their dominating nature and other monkey business drives away other tourists. So why do we need them?"

Tourists from Israel, along with those from Britain, Russia and Germany, top the number of tourists arriving in Goa every tourist season. Out of the two million tourists coming to the state each year, nearly 450,000 are foreigners.

The thousands of Israeli youngsters, who are fresh from serving the mandatory three-year stint in the armed forces prefer to vacation at party hot-spots in the Goa-Thailand-Bali circuit.

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