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Monday, September 02, 2013 

Family has bad time at Tiberias hotel

A family who went to a 3-star hotel in Tiberias where a lot of the visitors were Haredis found it a disgusting experience, and decided to sue in court:
A family that purchased a vacation package in a hotel in Tiberias has sued the travel agency that sold them the deal because of false promises and for being humiliated by the Haredi guests at the same hotel.

[...] according to the lawsuit, what the family was offered in return for their money was less than satisfactory. The state of maintenance in the hotel, including the rooms and other facilities, was poor and neglected, starting with odors from the sewer system and ending with filthy rooms.

Also, despite the promises to the contrary made by the agency, just about all the other guests at the hotel were Haredim, with [whom] the family members found no basis for communication. In fact, according to the mother, "in the hotel they yelled 'shiksa' at my daughters, because they wore pants."
The term 'shiksa' is an Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew word sheketz-vermin, in the female form. It used to be a putdown name for gentile women, but has been in wide use by Haredim looking to humiliate non-Haredi Jewish women in Israel, including non-Haredi religious women.

Attempts to contact the agency for a change of venue failed, and when they finally reached a real person, they were deaf to their complaints, goes the lawsuit. The family refused to remain at the hotel under those conditions and drove back home.

[...] As to the Haredi guests – they can't quite be made responsible for who else is vacationing at the same hotel.

But the agency CEO did not deny that the family was told the guests would be comprised of "members of all shades of the religious public."

The judge was sympathetic to the plaintiffs, who were asking for a little over $11,000 in damages. But he accused them of not taking the initiative in verifying just what kind of hotel they were going to. The most cursory search online would have provided them with ample information and, possibly, helped them change their package while there was still time.
What the Haredi guests who insulted the daughters with that nasty slur did was offensive at worst, and they should have been expelled from the hotel for it. But are the family suing the hotel for any failure to deal with the bigots littering the hotel rooms? If not, I'm puzzled, because they're more at fault here than the agency was.
...in a country rife with so much sensitivity and strife between different streams and denominations within what is known as the "religious public," it was the duty of the travel agency to go out of its way to make sure the match between their clients and the package was a good one. After all, that's why we use travel agency and not pick a package off the Internet.

The final verdict was in favor of the plaintiffs, but with the agency being made to pay back only 5,200 shekel, plus attorney's fees to the tune of 3,500 shekel, altogether about $2,400.
I'd say the agency deserved being required to pay, but don't see how the hotel isn't being held responsible, if that's the case. They have a duty to ensure that visitors don't harrass and disrespect other visitors, and presumably failed that part; I'd say a boycott of the hotel is in order. The family, while decidedly deserving their money back, should still take responsibility in researching what specific hotels are like, and seeing if they're worth bothering about.

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  • I'm Avi Green
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