German hostel: No Israelis allowed

Reservations for 4 Israeli families cancelled, with hostel initially saying Israeli guests were not welcome before retracting statement.

David Rosenberg, | updated: 22:27

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Four Israeli families that had reserved rooms at a German hostel in the Black Forest region of Baden-Wurttemberg were stunned last week when managers from the hostel abruptly cancelled their reservations, citing a policy of barring Israelis.

The families had reserved spaces at the Mattenhof hostel in Zell am Harmersbach a few weeks before via the Booking.com website.

“We made the reservation a few weeks ago for a vacation we’re planning for next August,” Igor Tsehansky told Yediot Ahronot.

“Because we’re four families totaling 17 people, we decided to reserve rooms as far in advance as possible.”

Days later, however, Tsehansky says the four families who reserved the rooms began to receive a series of messages from the hostel’s managers cancelling the reservation, each with a different reason for the cancellation.

“Each family got a different message. One family got an email saying the hotel only accepts guests for a minimum of one week. Another family got a message saying that booking is only available from Saturday to Saturday.”

The third family, however, received a wholly different explanation.

German hostel's cancellation message Screenshot/Facebook

“Hello, We don’t Want have [sic] Guests from Israel, because our appartments [sic] are Not for them. Please cancel the Booking. You can cancel without Money. Please do it. Thank you. Greetings, [Barbara] Schmider.”

Following a report by Yediot Ahronot, Schmider claimed her message had been “a big misunderstanding,” saying that the true reason for the cancellations was overbooking.

“Hello, there is a big misunderstanding. Israelische Guests [sic] are welcome in our house. The Problem is, that we are overbooked. We have forgot to lock the calendar. We have give [sic] the Guests another address by our neighbor. The think [sic] thats ok. We apologize. Best regards B. Schmider.”

Representatives of Booking.com offered the families involved cash compensation for the incident, in addition to an apology.

“We are doing everything we can to find a solution for the guests,” they told Yediot Ahronot, “and offered them compensation of 1,000 Euros ($1,100), and if necessary we can increase that. We are very sorry about the entire incident.”




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