Since the abrogation of Article 370, that accorded the special status to Jammu & Kashmir, many Israeli tourists have turned the city of Leh into 'Little Israel' by extending their stay in Leh and hence canceling their Kashmir itinerary. Israelis tourists are all over Leh to enjoy the pristine beauty of Ladakh, from streets to hotels and restaurants to monasteries. 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.
Ayelet Hod and her husband Nitai Hod, Isreali tourists, had arrived in India recently but before they could make any plans for Kashmir valley, the abrogation of Article 370 took place. "We were all set to visit Kashmir, as it one of the most beautiful places on earth. But, we are aware of the political situation in Jammu and Kashmir, especially after the abrogation of the provision of the Article 370, so we decided to cancel the trip and continue in Ladakh," said Ayelet.
Stanzin Namzang, manager of the hotel, said, "We have 13 rooms and barring 4-5 rooms, all have been taken up by Israelis. The same is the situation in many other hotels too. Israelis love Ladakh and the French too".
In Leh, Israeli tourists have reportedly outnumbered all the foreign tourists significantly. Several shops are even offering Kosher food. Elii Dorhaim, 58, an Israeli actor said, he and his wife, Hagid Greenstein had also planned to visit Kashmir, but the "situation there is quite volatile, so we decided to cancel it". He added, "We are going to spend that time in Leh-Ladakh, which is just heavenly in terms of its natural beauty. And, with so many Israelis in Leh, it feels like I am back in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Leh has sort of becoming a 'Little Israel'."
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on August 5 moved two bills and two resolutions in Parliament that had the momentous effect of abrogating Article 370 and also bifurcated the state into two union territories - Jammu &Kashmir and Ladakh.
(from PTI inputs)