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Israeli tourists stuck in India

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Most Israeli tourists have cancelled their Kashmir itinerary and are extending their stay in Leh due to the lockdown placed on Kashmir Valley in India.

From streets to hotels and restaurants to monasteries, Israelis are all over Leh are instead traveling through Ladakh after cancelling their Kashmir Valley plans due to a lockdown.

In markets and public places, one can hear Ladakhi and Hebrew being spoken and shops have tailored their menus to suit Israeli taste buds as a large number of them are currently staying in Leh town.

The nearly month-long lockdown in the Valley has prompted most of the Israeli travelers to cancel their Kashmir itinerary and prolong their stay in Leh, turning the city into a “Little Israel” of sorts.

Stanzin Namzang, manager of the Hotel Green View, said, “We have 13 rooms and barring 4-5 rooms, all have been taken up by Israelis. Same is the situation in many other hotels too. Israelis love Ladakh and the French too.”

In Leh, a walk in the streets is enough to tell that Israelis outnumber all foreign tourists significantly, and several shops even offer kosher food.

Kashmir Valley has been under lockdown for nearly a month, since the Centre abrogated provisions of Article 370 that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into UTs J&K and Ladakh.

In Buddhist-dominated Leh district, people are largely happy about getting a UT status, however, sections of people in Muslim-dominated Kargil district of Ladakh have been protesting the decision. Also, all men and women have to mandatorily do service in Israeli armed forces for a couple of years.

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.