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War voyeurs: Israeli tourists watch Syria battles from safe distance (PHOTOS)

Published time: July 25, 2012 15:00
Edited time: July 25, 2012 20:39
Israelis look from an Israeli army post near the village of Buqaata in the Golan Heights at the nearby Syrian village of Jebata al-Khashab (AFP Photo / Menahem Kahana)

Israelis look from an Israeli army post near the village of Buqaata in the Golan Heights at the nearby Syrian village of Jebata al-Khashab (AFP Photo / Menahem Kahana)

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.

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Families use binoculars as they watch from the hill village of Buqaata in the Golan Heights the smoke rising from the nearby Syrian village of Jebata al-Khashab (AFP Photo/Jalaa Marey)
Families use binoculars as they watch from the hill village of Buqaata in the Golan Heights the smoke rising from the nearby Syrian village of Jebata al-Khashab (AFP Photo/Jalaa Marey)

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.

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Seen from the hill village of Buqaata in the Golan Heights, smoke ascends from the Syrian village of Jebata al-Khashab (AFP Photo/Menahe Kahana)
Seen from the hill village of Buqaata in the Golan Heights, smoke ascends from the Syrian village of Jebata al-Khashab (AFP Photo/Menahe Kahana)

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A road sign shows the different distances to Jerusalem, Baghdad, Damascus and other locations at an army post in Mount Bental near Kibutz Merom Golan in the Golan Heights (AFP Photo/Menahe Kahana)
A road sign shows the different distances to Jerusalem, Baghdad, Damascus and other locations at an army post in Mount Bental near Kibutz Merom Golan in the Golan Heights (AFP Photo/Menahe Kahana)

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A Druze man uses binoculars as he looks towards Syria from part of an abandoned military outpost near the Druze village of Buqaata in the Golan Heights (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
A Druze man uses binoculars as he looks towards Syria from part of an abandoned military outpost near the Druze village of Buqaata in the Golan Heights (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

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REUTERS / Ronen Zvulun
REUTERS / Ronen Zvulun

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REUTERS / Ronen Zvulun
REUTERS / Ronen Zvulun

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People are seen through a camouflage net as they look towards Syria from part of an abandoned military outpost near the Druze village of Buqaata (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
People are seen through a camouflage net as they look towards Syria from part of an abandoned military outpost near the Druze village of Buqaata (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

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