Globes reporter Michal Raz Chaimovich reports a horrific case of a foreign tourist being swindled in Israel.
From a tourist from Greece Alexander Ziasas took 700 shekels for a trip from Ben Gurion International Airport to Tel Aviv. The trip lasted 25 minutes. When the tourist asked the taxi driver if he made a mistake with the price, he answered in the negative. Zias says, “As I was leaving the airport, a taxi driver approached me. I asked him how much the trip cost. He answered: 200-250. I was sure that we are talking about the price in shekels. I couldn't imagine what he meant by euro”.
According to the tourist, the taxi driver recommended him to withdraw 2,000 shekels from an ATM. At the end of the trip, he presented an invoice for 689 shekels. Zias says: “My jaw dropped. I gave him 700 shekels and he didn't give me change – he said he didn't have change. The taxi driver gave Zias coins of 1 shekel and 10 agorot, about 10 agorot he said that it was 10 shekel.
Alexander's misadventures did not end there. In Tel Aviv, he rented an apartment through the Airbnb portal. He paid 1,600 shekels for it – only to arrive at the appointed address to find out that the apartment is not for rent. The apartment on Mesilot Yasharim street really exists – but the entrance to it was boarded up. Zias called the owner, who said that the apartment “should not be rented out” and ended up in the Airbnb databases “by mistake”. Airbnb promises to deal with this case within two weeks.
The bartender from the bar opposite, Ran, helped the embarrassed and tired tourist. Ran says he was very upset about how Israel met Zias. Zias got a job in a hostel in south Tel Aviv. He does not regret choosing Israel as his country. to which I came on a student exchange program: “I can already say that I love Israelis, despite what happened to me here at the beginning. I think this is a good place for me. I don't blame the Israelis – except for the taxi driver, but unfortunately these things can happen anywhere”
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