Chabad Rabbis (Jewish Preachers) Rescue Hashed Out Israelis in India

India Times -- SHIMLA: The Israeli government has decided to break up the party.

Alarmed at increasing drug use amongst its youth, Tel Aviv has sent rabbis (Jewish preachers) to old Manali, Kasol and McLeodganj in Himachal Pradesh, Rishikesh in Uttaranchal, Pushkar in Rajasthan and Goa spots that attract Israeli youths due to easy availability of drugs, especially hashish.

Police sources told TOI these rabbis are trying to bring Israelis who have gone 'astray' back into the mainstream. They have opened Chabad houses (kind of religious centres) in hired rooms for group discussions, religious counselling and one-to-one discourses to make them good citizens once again.

Most Israeli youth come to India right after finishing their compulsory army training, which gives them a reasonable amount of money. And, Manali is their favoured haunt because of great weather, cheap hotels and above all, the good quality hashish grown in the region.

Sources said of the roughly 25,000 foreigners visiting Manali every year, over 5,000 are from Israel alone. An overwhelming majority of them are on their 'post-army trip' youngsters out to have a good time, which generally means smoking quality hashish. It is said more joints are passed around in Manali hotels than cigarettes.

Israelis in Manali generally move in their own quasi hippy groups, dancing to trance music in wild rave parties.

Over the years, many have vanished in the hills here leaving behind their passports and expired visas and peddling drugs for a living. Quite a large number of them move to warmer areas like Rishikesh, Pushkar and Goa during the winters.

Sources said in all these important destinations, there are two to three rabbis sent by the Israeli government. They are all members of a registered organisation and have opened Chabad houses where meetings are held every Friday and Saturday.

The discussion in these get-togethers are mainly on drugs and other vices. There's religious counselling as well.

These meetings are open strictly for Israelis only. Even they can't visit these Chabad houses which are decorated with religious pictures, pamphlets, literature and other items of worship on any other day.

Former Kullu SP A P Singh told TOI though there were many complaints against the Israelis, they weren't into big crime. Generally, Israelis are seen as brash and ones who get into fights with locals over minor issues. This is one of the major reasons why they aren't liked by local businessmen

No comments: