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India, Israel and the Jewish People

18. India is the most popular destination for Israel’s young backpackers. The inappropriate behavior of some of them has led to local complaints, perhaps tarnishing Israel’s image among some Indians. Existing Jewish and Israeli Tikkun Olam projects have provided some Indians with a more positive image of Jews and Israel than that conveyed by some tourists.

  • As many young Israelis travel to India after their military service, army training should include a seminar on the impact of inappropriate Israeli behavior in foreign countries, including India. Similar lectures could be introduced in Israeli schools.
  • Support and expand Tikkun Olam projects to help improve living conditions, public health, and education in many places throughout India.
  • Increase opportunities and NGO funding for young Jewish travelers to take part in Tikkun Olam projects in local Indian communities (“voluntourism”).
  • Increase support for MASHAV projects in India (Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs). This would allow young Israelis to volunteer for development projects across India for stints of 6 to 12 months.