Israelis smuggle drugs into Dubai for New Year’s celebrations – report

What started as an attempt to escape the lockdown in Israel and have some harmless fun may end very seriously for several Israelis.


Dozens of Israelis who have recently travelled to Dubai to celebrate the New Year allegedly smuggled hashish and marijuana into a country with very strict laws relating to drugs, N12 reported.

As Israel entered its third general lockdown on Sunday, forcing many Israelis to hold off on their plans for New Year’s celebrations, others took the opportunity to travel to Dubai and catch two birds with one stone: Enjoy the new destination recently made available for Israelis and celebrate the Near Year in one of the city’s glamorous rooftop parties.
Some 8,000 Israelis travelled to Dubai for their New Year celebrations, according to N12, but what started as an attempt to escape the lockdown in Israel and have some harmless fun may end very seriously for several Israelis who apparently decided to smuggle drugs into the country.
The young Israelis were allegedly unaware of the strict laws and very serious penalties that one may face if caught with drugs in the UAE. Being caught by law enforcement in the UAE with a small amount of drugs may lead to anywhere between 20 years in prison and a death sentence.
One of the Israelis who smuggled light drugs into Dubai told N12 that he is not worried about being caught.
“All we did was smuggle some hashish and marijuana to celebrate Silvester (New Year’s Eve) and get high. It isn’t cocaine, it’s light drugs. I don’t believe that we’ll get in trouble. A death sentence for a few hundred grams in our suitcases? We only smoke in our hotel room,” he said.
Another Israeli told N12 that he only realized that he may spend a long time in jail if caught with drugs after landing. “Only when we arrived did we realize that we’re taking a risk, so we decided to only smoke in our rooms. We won’t walk around with hashish, we’ll party in our room and finish everything that we brought with us,” he said, adding: “We took a risk, but we came here to celebrate, and that’s what we’ll do.”
An Israeli residing in Dubai said that Dubai offered endless parties and venues for celebrating New Year’s Eve. “There are insane VIP parties on hotel rooftops. And the demand by Israeli tourists is high. They want the most glamorous parties and don’t listen to the guidelines,” he told N12. “They think that they’re at home and can do whatever they want to,” he added, noting that most Israeli tourists in Dubai “don’t wear masks, don’t keep social distancing and risk receiving very high fines.”
Authorities in Dubai stressed in the past week that citizens and tourists who violate guidelines during the New Year’s Eve celebrations will be heavily fined. According to the restrictions, gatherings of more than 30 people are not allowed.
“Hundreds of local police officers will raid all public venues and parties. Those who violate the restrictions will pay a heavy price,” an Israeli residing in Dubai said as a warning to Israeli tourists.

“They don’t differentiate between citizens and tourists. I advise Israelis not to do anything stupid. It’s bad enough that we’ve made a bad name for ourselves lately, and we should avoid reaching a point where we’re unwelcome in this magnificent country,” he added.

In mid-December, it was reported that over 50,000 Israelis have already visited the UAE since the recent normalization deal between Israel and the UAE, and that more and more Israeli tourists continue to flood into Dubai, despite security warnings and reports of leaked sensitive information of Israeli tourists booking vacations in the Gulf state.
As rental prices in Dubai are relatively cheaper than Tel Aviv, many young Israelis have even taken the opportunity to move their lives to Dubai and pursue careers in the tourism and food industries.
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