The leading question I get from people who indicate a desire to travel to Israel is, “Is it safe?” It is an important question. It is also a valid question. Based on not only my most recent trip to Israel (July 12-24) and the 39 previous trips, the answer is …. (wait for it)…. YES! Yes, it is safe to travel to Israel.
The issue of “safety” is a perception created by one of three things. One, the leading determining factor for most people about whether or not it is safe to travel to Israel is what they see on TV and/or other media outlets. As we all know, the media has a way of portraying the very worst conditions in any situation. Why? Because the “sensationalized” reporting of “news” earns them viewers. It makes for “good news.” Not always, but oftentimes “facts” and “reality” take a back seat to everything else.
I’ll give you an example. Once while leading a walk with my group in Jerusalem, we came across CNN/ABC news reporter Christiane Amanpour. She was working on recording a piece for Diane Sawyer back in the U.S. She actually asked us to time her recorded pieces (that she, by the way, pretended to be reporting “live” from Jerusalem). But with this aside, the first words out of her mouth were, “There’s tension tonight in Jerusalem!” We looked at one another and asked “Where?” After leaving her and her falsified and sensationalized “news” report, we walked to one of the busiest Israeli areas of the city (Ben Yehuda Street) where we encountered 100s of Israelis having fun. There was no “tension” in Jerusalem anywhere! Yet, this is what the viewer back home hears. Pure sensationalization, and the viewer back home falls for it! For the record, by the way, even though Ms. Amanpour is a very biased and anti-Israel reporter (like many at CNN in my humble opinion), she is a very nice lady! She thanked us over and over for timing her “live” report.
Secondly, well-meaning, caring, but “under-informed” family members and friends factor in to a person’s decision to join a tour to Israel. Don’t get me wrong, for I am sure all of us are thankful for keeping our best interests in mind. But without fail (even on this last trip), virtually everyone in my group had someone who told them something like, “You are crazy for traveling to Israel…. don’t you know you are asking for trouble or worse, get killed.” Almost everyone in my recent tour group had someone who tried to talk them out of signing up for the trip. This is simply a result of being “under-informed,” most likely linked to what they see and hear in the media. So unfortunate!
Yet thirdly, a person’s perception of safety can be formed by truth and reality. Speaking of truth, the real picture of safety should be formed by what what really goes on in the daily life in Israel. Life remains normal in Israel. Israelis don’t live in fear. Neither do tourists. Rather, tourists especially are welcomed by Jews and Arabs alike. Additionally, travel for the tourist remains safe at all times and is at an all-time high. Not only is it safe to go anywhere in Israel, day or night, but never is there a time or situation where one is “looking over one’s shoulder” out of fear for being harmed or attacked. As hard as it may be for some to understand this (given the bombardment of negative media reports), this is simply how it is!
So if you are considering traveling to Israel sometime with me or with any our our outstanding tours with our agency (imagine Tours & Travel), but you are reluctant because of fear for your safety and well-being, don’t hesitate in investing in a trip that will change your life! It is safe! And remember, God’s presence and promise goes with you everywhere, yes, even (or should I say especially) in Israel! Don’t allow fear to hold you back from a life-changing experience!