I hate apologizing for being Israeli, but I do.

My very Mexican accent gets smiles out of the paisas (Medelliners) I speak to, but when they ask me where I am from and I say “Israel” I get an incredulous look. I sat down with an employee of the hostel I am at and asked him what the deal was. He said he felt very uncomfortable talking about it because Avri and I have been very nice but they usually don’t allow Israeli’s in the hostel. I cringed and asked him to explain why.

He told me some personal experiences where groups of young and arrogant Israeli’s tricked them and ended up not paying for their stay. He said they pay for the first night, and then he runs around begging for the rest of the nights, and then they just take off. On one occasion he threatened a group because he had copies of their passports and the group of 4 Israeli men mocked him, threw bills at the floor and left only after he kneeled down to pick them up.

Other paisas have talked about the way Israeli’s treat them with no respect, flashing their money around and demanding attention and service.

A woman we went out with the other night told me Israeli’s are known for running out of bars and restaurants without paying, and that several places have signs that no Israelis are allowed inside.

I haven’t seen these signs yet and hope I don’t. I also hope I am not turned away after a glance at my passport but I expect it to happen sooner or later. And when it does, what am I going to say?