IS IT SAFE?
Asking ‘Is it safe to travel to Israel’ is a bit like asking if it’s safe to travel to the United States. The short answer is yes. Traveling to Israel is safe. The slightly less comforting answer is that it is as safe as anywhere in the world today. We have the best airport security in the world. The best security and intelligence services in the world. The best civilian defense procedures and training in the world. And we have an alert and well trained population who take out terrorists within seconds of the beginning of an attack. At the end of the day, if we roll together all causes of violent death, terrorism and crime, you are safer in Israel than in the U.S. or in about half the countries in the E.U.
But Israel is not one place. Like the United States is not one place, but rather a massive country with many states, cities, neighborhoods, street corners, and groups of people, the character of each changing over time, from day to night, and over decades. If you really want to stay safe, you avoid certain neighborhoods in certain cities. Or maybe you only go there in daylight. Or maybe you don’t go there alone. Israel is the same on a smaller scale.
Israel has extremely low violent crime rates compared to most countries, including the United States. But the terrorist wave that has been hitting the news in recent months is real, and it’s scary. As a person who lives and whose daily life takes place at some of the flash points, it can be terrifying. But as a tourist it’s easy to avoid the few dangerous spots in the country where 99% of the attacks are taking place. The several gates of the Old City of Jerusalem which are in the Muslim area of the city but often traversed by religious Jews are flashpoints. The Gush Etzion junction (near my home) is a flash point, as well as a few miles of road between that junction and Hebron. The rest of the country, by and large, is as safe as anywhere in the world, and more so than most places.
THIS IS WHY YOU NEED A GUIDE!
A good tour guide will be aware of the dangers and help you avoid them. They will be aware of the invisible subtleties which can affect safety, such as the time on the Muslim calendar, which is not in sync with the secular or Hebrew calendars. They will know the roads and be able to prevent you from taking a wrong turn into a bad neighborhood. And if you are still concerned about safety, there are things you can do about it to be even safer. Armored cars and armed guards are available for hire. I provide both for my tours as a matter of course.
Don’t let the haters keep you away from the spiritual center of the world, the home to thousands of years of history. Come now and show your support for Israel while giving yourself or your family a transformative, fun, life changing experience. If you want help planning a trip, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to the contact page.