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War voyeurs: Israeli tourists watch Syria battles from safe distance

War voyeurs: Israeli tourists watch Syria battles from safe distance
Armed with binoculars and cameras, tourists in Israel are flocking to the Golan Heights in the hope of seeing the bloody conflict in neighboring Syria, sparking a trend among tour operators.

In this day and age, whale watching apparently just doesn’t cut it any longer.It’s far more entertaining to watch your neighbors bomb and shoot the living daylights out of each other – from the safe distance of, say,  the Golan Heights.This is, apparently, the latest craze among Israelis, who flock to vantage points near the country’s border with Syria to observe the ongoing clashes, according to the Times of Israel.Armed with binoculars and cameras, throngs of Israeli and other tourists have been seen heading to Golan Heights. Live action enthusiasts were hoping to catch a glimpse of the savage fighting, which have been steadily increasing in the 17-month Syrian conflict.

But the distance, apparently, is far too great to get a full scope of the carnage, so the spectators have to be content with the sounds of gunfire and explosions.The trend was unwittingly started by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who visited the Golan Heights to assess the level of danger to Israel’s IDF from the conflict in Syria. Images of the minister broadcast on TV seem to have triggered an unexpected reaction among both Israelis and visitors to the country.In fact, the draw of the conflict is so great that tour operators are reportedly thinking about putting Syrian conflict-watching on the list of available itineraries. Those most concerned about the situation appear to be Israeli security forces, who say they’re doing their best to keep the war-watchers away from sensitive army installations along the Israeli-Syrian border.