Israelis tourists bring Israel in India
The expression, Israel in India, is not just a phrase but an existing reality that has been built in the last generation since Israeli tourism in India has taken root in Israeli society and has become part of the definition of Israeli identity. If in the past the trip to India was a “must” for young Israelis after military service, for many years it has been part of a journey of many people of different ages, even very old ages. India speaks for everyone.
Many Israelis at different ages travel to India. Some are young people after they completed their military service, some are students or working people, families and pensioners. Why is India so attractive for Israelis? Why do Israelis like so much to travel to India?
The answer to this question, why so many Israelis travel to India, is composed of many reasons, and it is clear that not every reason is relevant to everyone. Moreover, the reasons I have listed do not encompass the entire relationship between India and Israel, Jews and Hindus. Both nations have a history that goes back many years and goes on continuously into the twentieth century, to the modern history of the State of Israel, even during periods where there were no diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Eventually, people are individuals and act for different reasons, but still, if you try to generalize, you can certainly list several reasons. The order of reasons below is not necessarily related to their importance. The following article details the reasons why Israelis are traveling to India en masse and prefer it to other destinations.
If you compare travel costs in India between trips elsewhere, such as Europe, US, Australia, South America, so there is no doubt that the trip in India is significantly cheaper. India is relatively close to Israel so the flight costs cheaper. The food is very tasty and cheap. The lodging is cheap. Mobility within India is cheap.
The more you are willing to adapt to the way the locals live, the lower is your travel costs. The amount of money that will be enough for a few weeks to travel in the US will suffice for a half year trip to India. So whether you are a soldier who has completed regular service or a family with two or three children is a significant consideration. Read here more about the travel costs in India.
2. Vegetarianism and veganism
As someone who has been married to a vegan woman for many years, vegan food is not easy to get. In the last year or two there has been a change but still, in a large majority of the restaurants, vegan dishes are improvised dishes or appear to be a kind of compromise made by the restaurant.
In India, however, vegan food is built into Hindu culture. Vegan food is an ideology and therefore cooking, groceries and dishes are adapted to vegan food. The result is very very tasty food and most importantly, very available everywhere. India is actually a paradise for vegans. Since the veganism has been gaining momentum in recent years, India has become a natural destination for vegans.
India is a vast subcontinent. The size of India is about 3.3 million square kilometers.
By comparison, Israel’s size is 27,880 square kilometers (including Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights), you need almost 120 Israel’s territory in order to create a similar size of the territory of India.
For those who come from a small country, it is a wonderful feeling of freedom to travel in such a large geographical area without this space ending somewhere.
You can travel to India for months and months and still cover only a small part of it.
4. No Antisemitism
In East Asia in general, and in India in particular, there are no anti-Semitic sediments. There is no tradition of Jew-hatred. For Jewish Israelis, this is something significant. Western Europe for that matter, on top of its horrible history with Jews, became intolerable again in recent years.
If you are identified as a Jew, because you spoke Hebrew or because you wear a skullcap or because you wear a Star of David necklace, there is a nearly 100% chance that you will be attacked physically in the street in broad daylight. Of course, such an atmosphere is not attractive to travelers.
5. No judgment
Israel is part of the Judeo-Christian culture of the Western world. One of the outstanding characteristics of this culture is your constant judgment by the environment, whether it is parents, friends, workplace, everyone judges you all the time.
You are judged for appearance, you are judged for the way you speak, you are judged by your actions, you are judged for everything that related to you. In some East Asian countries (India and the Buddhist countries) this is completely not the case.
They accept you as you are in the most natural way. You can live in any way you like, you can wear whatever you like, talk about whatever you want and the environment will treat all with patience and naturalness. The lack of judgment creates an incredible feeling of freedom and is one of the great attractions of these places.
6. Beautiful India
India is an amazing country in its beauty. It has geographic, human and cultural wealth. Tropical regions, desert areas, mountainous, flatlands. Everything is in India. Cultural wealth reaches its peak in Hindu holy sites (Varanasi), in the far north of Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), the center of Buddhist Tibetans, in Amritsar (the center of the Sikhs). For travelers, the experiences in these places are very powerful. It’s not just another monument or museum.
7. Israelis like being together
The Israelis are very family-oriented, love to be together and love the sense of family. If there are definitely some who prefer to be alone, they will prefer not to be identified with the other Israelis or to go to places where Israelis go, mainly out of a desire to feel the local environment as much as possible. Of course, if you are in an Israeli guest house, eat Israeli food, speak Hebrew and socialize mainly with Israelis, it is very difficult to feel India with all its might.
8. Without borders
Israelis do not like laws and do not like borders. They do not like being told what to do and when to do it. This feeling is especially intensified after three years of military service during which they are in a military framework, with all that entails. Europe and the United States are places of laws and borders.
There are times to be respected, lines to be met, clothing code everywhere. In East Asia, especially in countries like India, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, the atmosphere is much looser. Everything is much slower and less pressing. Less sense of limits and limitations. The advantage of a trip to such places is obvious.
India is the homeland of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism. Yoga was born in India, meditation, karma, Dharma all were born in India. Many people are drawn to the spirituality of India. India is a warm home to all those who are fed up with Western materialism. The ability to experience these things in its original source is very attractive for Israelis, who are not necessarily young.
10. India is suitable for families
India is also suitable for families. Economically a trip to a family of four or five people would be much cheaper than such a trip to Europe or the US. In addition, families who are less interested in classic tourist attractions such as Disneyland or large parks, preferring the cultural, geographic and spiritual aspects, will definitely prefer India.