Men from the Palestinian Authority looking to enter the 'New Kaliya' beach on the Dead Sea are not allowed entry if they are alone. Ynet has learned that the beach directorate has decided to allow the men in only if they are with their families, citing repeated complaints of sexual harassment by female patrons.
Danny, a 35-year-old from Tel Aviv, visited the beach on Friday and said he was shocked by the policy being enacted at Kaliya. "I went with two friends and in line behind us were two Arabs. The girl at the register just wouldn't let them in," he recalls.
As the day progressed Danny said he realized the scene he had witnessed was not an isolated incident. "It kept repeating itself. At one point I asked the people at the register if they really weren't letting Arabs in and they answered straight out that they were not. One of the workers told me that the men just aren't let in alone, but families are. I asked why and she said that they bothered the female tourists… she said there's nothing that can be done, it's just the way it is. What, Israeli hooligans don't bother girls – just Arabs?"
The Kaliya administration confirmed the policy, but stressed that entry is only denied to Palestinian Arabs who come to the beach in groups. Manager Itay Rahm told Ynet in response: "This is a very serious problem, not just here but for all the Dead Sea beaches. Based on our experience, we don't let young Palestinian men in because of numerous harassment complaints.
"They're not allowed to hit on girls in their villages so they come here to harass them. Just to make a point, the day that man talked about a couple of Palestinian youths managed to sneak in and then started masturbating in front of female tourists."
He added that Israeli Arabs are able to enter the beach without any problems. "It's important to stress that we're talking about Palestinians here, not Israeli Arabs. And this isn't about racism, we let entire families in because I know that when there are women around they won't do anything."