A family that purchased a vacation package in a hotel in Tiberias has sued the travel agency that sold them the deal because of false promises and for being humiliated by the Haredi guests at the same hotel.
In the February of 2012, the plaintiffs in a suit at the Jerusalem Magistrates Court purchased a 2-night package for the Passover vacation at the Metzuda hotel in Tiberias from a travel agency, Mynet reports. The package included 3 rooms for 8 people, full board, cost 7,500 shekel (about $2,100), paid in advance.
But, according to the lawsuit, what the family was offered in return for their money was less than satisfactory. The state of maintenance in the hotel, including the rooms and other facilities, was poor and neglected, starting with odors from the sewer system and ending with filthy rooms.
Also, despite the promises to the contrary made by the agency, just about all the other guests at the hotel were Haredim, with the family members found no basis for communication. In fact, according to the mother, “in the hotel they yelled ‘shiksa’ at my daughters, because they wore pants.”
The term ‘shiksa’ is an Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew word sheketz-vermin, in the female form. It used to be a putdown name for gentile women, but has been in wide use by Haredim looking to humiliate non-Haredi Jewish women in Israel, including non-Haredi religious women.
Attempts to contact the agency for a change of venue failed, and when they finally reached a real person, they were deaf to their complaints, goes the lawsuit. The family refused to remain at the hotel under those conditions and drove back home.
The agency explained in court that a representative who happened to be staying at the same hotel was on hand, and spoke to the plaintiffs several times. It also denied presenting Metzuda as a four-star hotel. It’s only a three-star hotel.
You can tell the difference, because in a four-star hotel you don’t smell the sewer system quite as much.
As to the Haredi guests – they can’t quite be made responsible for who else is vacationing at the same hotel.
But the agency CEO did not deny that the family was told the guests would be comprised of “members of all shades of the religious public.”
The judge was sympathetic to the plaintiffs, who were asking for a little over $11,000 in damages. But he accused them of not taking the initiative in verifying just what kind of hotel they were going to. The most cursory search online would have provided them with ample information and, possibly, helped them change their package while there was still time.
He also asked what kind of hotel were they expecting for what came down to $130 per person with full room and board?
On the other hand, in a country rife with so much sensitivity and strife between different streams and denominations within what is known as the “religious public,” it was the duty of the travel agency to go out of its way to make sure the match between their clients and the package was a good one. After all, that’s why we use travel agency and not pick a package off the Internet.
The final verdict was in favor of the plaintiffs, but with the agency being made to pay back only 5,200 shekel, plus attorney’s fees to the tune of 3,500 shekel, altogether about $2,400.
A spokesperson for the travel agency, Margaliot, told Mynet that they had offered the family to pay them back the entire $2,100, but they, apparently, saw an opportunity to get rich quick. Now both sides ended up losing, needlessly.
Get rich quick on $11 thousand? Seriously?Yori Yanover
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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