Israelis caught in Goa drug trade isolated cases: Diplomat

Panaji, (IANS) Israel’s Mumbai-based Consul General David Akov on Tuesday said instances of Israelis caught during unlawful activities in Goa were isolated incidents.

Goa has seen many instances of Israeli tourists arrested for drug use and peddling.

Asked on the sidelines of a trade conference if he was worried about the perception that Israelis were involved in the drug trade in Goa, Akov told reporters: “People from all over the world who do things against the law, whether in India or other countries, I don’t think there’s certain percentage, that specifically Israelis are more involved in that anywhere.”

Since the mid-1980s, beaches in Goa like Anjuna, Ozrant, Vagator, Chapora, Arambol have been well-known vacation haunts for young Israelis who complete their compulsory stint in the country’s armed forces.

Over the years, however, many Israelis were linked to the drug trade, with a legislative committee report even indicting former home minister Ravi Naik and his son Roy for their alleged links to the Israeli drug mafia operating in Goa.

In May this year, Israeli national Naftari Samuel, a former caretaker of a Jewish prayer house in Mumbai, was arrested for trying to help a fellow Israeli, arrested for possession of LSD.

Akov said these were individual acts and that it “should not affect the perception” about Israel in India.

“Of course, every Israeli has to abide by the law of the land, by the law of India. This is what we tell Israelis when they are here,” the diplomat said.

He also said over 40,000 Israelis come to India every year and a majority of them visit Goa.

The profile of Israeli tourists was changing and more and more families and retired people have started travelling to India, he said.

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