It is hard to believe the testimonies of Israeli tourists returning from the UAE, in which they describe Dubai as the Las Vegas of the Middle East. This is specifically in terms of the spread of prostitution and the sex trade that does not befit an Arab Muslim country.
Reports from Israel suggest that 8,000 Israelis travelled to Dubai to celebrate the New Year. They apparently took hashish and marijuana with them to the UAE, despite its strict drug laws, with up to 20 years imprisonment and sometimes execution for convicted drug smugglers.
One Israeli who admitted to smuggling drugs into Dubai told Israel's Channel 12 that he was not worried about being arrested. "All we did was smuggle some hashish and marijuana to celebrate [New Year's Eve] and get high," he explained. "It isn't cocaine, they are 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."
According to an Israeli resident in Dubai, the increasing number of fellow Israelis visiting the UAE in general, and Dubai in particular, has made them think that they're at home and can do whatever they want. "Most Israeli tourists in Dubai don't wear masks, don't keep social distancing and risk receiving very high fines." About 50,000 Israelis have visited the UAE since the normalisation agreement was signed in September.
A new development is that the tourist advertisements and posters about Dubai conceal a dark reality, represented by gangs of Israeli men who set out for the new holiday destination with prostitution in mind. They fill their pockets with thousands of dollars and with little or no conscience spend their time in the UAE moving from one woman to another.
It has become clear that any Israeli tourist in Dubai can go up to a hotel room to attend a party, pay $1,000 and jump into the pool of iniquity. All of this is happening openly, while the Emirati authorities turn a blind eye to tourists spending a week in Dubai for sexual purposes.
Another individual involved in this sordid business in Dubai said he went to Bucharest six times, but now believes with certainty that Dubai has become the biggest brothel in the world with its large and luxurious beach hotels. He pointed out that in the early evening, dozens of women sit on the colourful chairs outside the restaurants and bars around the complexes.
Data available from Israeli tourists returning from the UAE indicates that they are charged between 1800-2000 dirhams ($600). They have discovered a new "meat market" and operate unhindered in the Emirates, as if they are wandering around Bucharest, Burgas or Bangkok.
An Israeli journalist who met with young men leaving for Dubai revealed that his conversations included shameful sexual statements that are hard to swallow, but reflect what is happening in the UAE today. The can sit and eat next to a swimming pool while watching frenzied scenes of sexual activity.
"This involves a mixture of alcohol, girls and sex parties, and they choose whatever they like on an iPad or a mobile phone," explained one Israeli. "Everything is open, like a menu with pizza toppings. There are also cards offering car prostitution services in Dubai, especially with girls of Eastern European descent who are sex workers in Dubai. Such services cost 1,000 dirhams, approximately $300."
The Israelis go to nightclubs in Dubai, he added, and there are prostitutes hanging out with everyone. "They look like models, like Instagram girls in swimsuits. They all meet in the lobby of a hotel filled with 100 to 150 girls who work in the 'meat market' in Dubai, like the US. Each person spends NIS 50,000, about $15,000, during the week. It's a lot of money. On any given day, I take 5 girls up with me to the hotel penthouse."
Israeli sex tourists have revealed that Dubai hotels host prostitutes from all over the world, including Brazil, Russia, Peru and Bolivia, and they cost over $700 a night. "This is an expensive trip and only Israelis with money go to Dubai. A weekend trip to Dubai costs $30,000. Everything is expensive. Club entry is NIS 1,000 per person, then you buy the bottles, then you eat, then a girl comes to you, and the night ends up costing $5,000 to $6,000."
It is hard to believe that Dubai is witnessing the worst excesses of the sex industry, but it is true. Israelis are going to Dubai like they would go to Bucharest or Thailand, only in Dubai the price is much higher and prostitutes are found everywhere. According to a random sample of Israeli sex tourists, Dubai is now a top destination for them; the number one city for sex; and it is easier for them to travel to Dubai than to Romania, although it is more expensive.
What is happening in Dubai is an extension of the Israeli sex industry, with prostitution apps advertising women operating in Dubai. The UAE has become the sin city of the Gulf and one of the sex tourism capitals of the world. The fruit of normalisation is that Israelis are now heavily involved in the whole shameful business.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.