Ben Gurion Airport: Today’s news that an Israeli man faces six months in a Russian jail for trying to open the door of a Moscow-bound airplane in order to smoke a cigarette shocked and confused many people, none of whom had ever encountered Israelis while traveling. According to Russian and Israeli media reports, a Moscow-area court last week said the 51-year-old man boarded the Aeroflot flight in May in Tel Aviv drunk, and attempted to open the door of the plane to smoke a cigarette. He also threatened and violently attacked crew members who tried to restrain him.
Yet for those savvy travelers who are “In the Know”, today’s news was about as controversial and groundbreaking as “Jerusalem Shuk will be very crowded on Friday morning” or “Soldier on your Birthright trip is going to get lucky“. In fact, our friend in dire need of a cigarette failed to even break the Top Ten list of “Worst Behaved Israeli Travelers in 2017.” The Daily Freier caught up with some of last year’s winners in Ben Gurion’s Departure Lounge to find out just what it takes to join the Dream Team of Israel’s worst travelers.
The Daily Freier first spoke to 7th Place Winner Yoav and listened to him tell the story of the time he personally used up all the drugs in his Goa hostel and walked around telling people that he wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls. Later, he described how he hit a Holy Man crossing the street in Kathmandu with his motorbike “because the guy was walking too slow“.
Yoav then introduced us to his cousin and second place winner Alon, who had just returned to Israel after getting deported from Australia for feeding bamba and coffee hafuch to a koala. “This guy on the Russian flight is off to an impressive start but if he wants to be a part of this elite team, he really needs to step up his game. I mean, talk to me when you’ve been detained by park rangers for giving bong hits to a llama in Machu Picchu.”
The Daily Freier was then allowed to observe the boarding of a New York-bound El Al flight to see some of last year’s winners in action. And the results were A-MA-ZING. We were able to observe 8th Place winner Nachum, a Haredi man who found a chance to bridge the religious-secular divide by refusing to sit next to a woman on the flight and thereby delayed takeoff by several hours. Meanwhile, another man had taken his bag out of the overhead bin and rushed to the front in order to be first off the plane…. BEFORE THE PLANE HAD EVEN TAKEN OFF.
We then had the opportunity to witness 4th Place Winner Smadar K. as she yelled at a flight attendant while attempting to board with her carry-on consisting of 2 suitcases, 6 huge bags from duty-free, a backpack, and a tuba. Once she placed all of her items in the overhead compartment and got settled, Smadar described the time in Cyprus when she stuffed an entire table from the hotel’s breakfast buffet into her pocketbook.
Next, we met Eytan. While some people refuse to close their iPhones during takeoff, Eytan took it to another level and decided to publish documents from his printer as the plane ascended.
Finally, the Daily Freier was able to get testimony from the field as Israel’s worst travelers crisscrossed the Globe. Yoni was 2016’s Sixth Place winner, and he Skyped in from Amsterdam while attempting to fit the hotel room’s flat screen television into his suitcase. “Hair dryers and bathrobes? That’s for beginners. Welcome to the Big Leagues.”
Then there was 3rd Place Winner Dalit. “This life is not for everyone. Our standards are high.” Dalit explained as she continued setting up the sound system for a midnight ecstasy rave in Cambodia’s Angkor Wat historical site.
Entries for the 2017 Worst Israeli Traveler competition will be accepted through the end of December. Winners will be announced in late January, with the awards ceremony to be held early February in Eilat. The Master of Ceremonies will be the “Ani Rotza Shokolad” woman.