Bus loads of tourists turning up at the sites of Hamas’s October 7 massacres have prompted outrage with orange signs reading ‘tourist sites’ being put up. More than a tenth of people living in Kibbutz Be’eri were killed during the attacks, but hordes of tourists are rolling into the village on tour buses every day with private companies to snap the sights of the atrocities.
Tourists on these organised visits are able to step inside the homes of those who died in the attacks, with most covered in bullet holes and burn marks.
As the tour continues visitors are told the stories of the people who used to live there after being welcomed by IDF guards through the same gates Hamas militants burst through four months earlier.
Holidaymakers visiting the sites of horrific events is nothing new with dark tourists travelling to locations for decades, but it is a phenomenon which is becoming more popular and controversial, with tourists starting to visit sites just months after the events which made them infamous unfolded.
Just three months after the tragedy of Grenfell Tower, dark tourists were reportedly turning up with cameras in the hope of snapping a selfie in front of the site where 72 people died, prompting angry rows with folk living nearby.
In the Israeli village, groups of visitors have been seen gathering in the rubble of what remains of the home of Sharon Avigdori, a therapist who specialised in working with children with autism, who was kidnapped along with her 12-year-old daughter Noam.
The pair have not been able to return to their home village despite being returned to Israel, but IDF guards are happily leading tourists through their house.
The tours have also led visitors up the stairs of the homes of those who died in the attack, with one group of people seen ascending the stairs in a home which had been almost destroyed apart from the staircase and adjoining wall.
Many of those whose homes are being visited remain in underground tunnels in Gaza as they are still being held hostage by Hamas.
It is thought the village may one day become a memorial to those who died in the attacks if its inhabitants are unable to return, in a similar way to how the Auschwitz concentration camp where 960,000 Jews were killed has become one of the world’s most popular dark tourism sites seeing more than 25 million visitors.