It seems most every week the news spotlights some political tension in the Middle East. Headlines do their best to dial in on any unrest they can find, making us wonder if it is safe to travel to Israel.
(Photo: Friends of ours overlooking Joppa)
But think about what the news reports here in the States. Only bad news makes the news. And yet, we know for a fact the news reports only on a slice of reality.
I had a friend from China who came to America to study at seminary. He told me his wife was afraid to move to America because she thought their children would be shot at public school. Think about it. If all we knew of America came from what we learned on the news, we would have a very distorted perspective.
When forming an opinion on whether or not it is safe to travel to Israel, we tend to make that choice based on feelings—not facts. Let’s look at the facts, shall we?
Here are 6 reasons why you can go to the Holy Land with confidence.
1. The News Gives a Jaded Perspective
We keep a healthy skepticism toward what the news reports with regard to our own country. But for some reason, when the journalists head overseas we trust their objectivity?
Think of a large city near you. For me, it’s Dallas—a city with a crime index of 8 (where 100 is the safest). Talk about unsafe! Not at all.
There are parts of Dallas I don’t go to. And yet, I travel to Dallas often, as I have thousands of times. I’ve even lived there!
Going to Dallas is no problem if you know where to go—and where not to go. It’s the same with the big city near you.
It’s the same in Israel. Exactly the same.
2. Tour Companies and Land Operators Have Safety as Their Goal
Tour Companies have your safety as their primary goal. (Yes, even above making a profit.) Why? First, because it’s right. But also because if you get harmed on their watch, their good reputation will never recover. They have as their top priority your comfort and safety throughout your journey. Believe me, it is in the best interest of the travel company that you are safe!
All tours require a licensed Israeli guide. This insures your safety because the guide does this for a living every day.
He or she knows the land, its political issues, and can recognize any potential danger (of which I have never experienced one).
There is some danger in traveling to Israel, but once you get to airport in the States, most of that danger is over. —Dr. Charlie Dyer
(Photo: Buses parked at Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee)
3. Israel Has Security as its Goal
From the time you get off the plane in Tel Aviv to the time you board to head home, you’ll see how committed Israel remains to safety.
Security on flights bound to and from Israel is far stricter than any domestic US flights.
At the airport, professionals trained to spot any danger ask each passenger a number of questions. They take this very seriously. In fact, if you missed my post about being strip-searched, you’d enjoy a smile at my expense.
4. The Testimony of Others Confirms it’s Safe to Travel to Israel
I’ve spoken with many tourists who were skeptical prior to going to Israel. To a person, their perspective changed after going. Here are a few testimonies from some of my blog readers:
We have been going to Israel regularly since 1985, sometimes leading tours, sometimes not. . . We never felt unsafe for one minute. . . . We keep telling people “Go! You’re missing out on the blessing of understanding your scriptures so much better!” —Patrice
I never felt at risk at any point. I agree the tour companies take good care of their tourists. I trust God wherever I am and don’t worry. You’re right about a tour through Israel changing how you read and understand your Bible. It is life-changing. —Walt
I have visited Israel and was there for 10 days with a church group. Never were we ever threatened and we always felt safe everywhere we went. —Coco
I just got back from Israel October 17. We were there 13 days. One day we went to Mt. Gerazim in a ‘safe’ bus but there was no trouble. I never did, like the others, feel threatened. . . . I would go back now. —Carole
My husband and I were in Israel this June. . . . We did not feel at all threatened or fearful. We felt the moment we got to Tel Aviv, that God did indeed call us there and it felt like home. . . . Don’t miss out on the one thing that will for sure change your life for Christ. —Judy
I’ve been to Israel three times over the years. On a Christian tour, worked on an archaeological dig (Tel Gezer), and my wife and I went for three weeks, rented a car and traveled by ourselves. Wayne is right. Israel is a very safe place to visit! —David
The Israel Ministry of Tourism reports that the level of tourist satisfaction continues to have stellar ratings. For example, in 2013—Israel’s record year of tourism with 3.5 million tourists—the highest services rated included:
Archaeological sites (4.5 out of 5)
Tour guides and organized tours (4.4 out of 5)
Personal security (4.3 out of 5)
5. My Own Experience Confirms it’s Safe to Travel to Israel
On one of my first trips to the Holy Land in 2001, I had been there for about a week when a friend emailed me in panic. “Are you okay? The news makes it look like it’s all-out war there!” Honestly, I had no idea. Not once did we experience any problems.
Moreover, I have traveled to Israel 9 times in the past 14 years and never have I even seen an incident of concern. Not once. In fact, I have two trips planned for next year.
(Photo: Me on Cypros, overlooking the Judean Wilderness)
So, please, don’t take the news’ word for it. Don’t even take my word for it.
Instead, here’s a better idea: you pick someone to ask.
6. Ask Anyone You Know Who Has Traveled to Israel
Just ask any anyone you know who has traveled there whether or not it’s safe.
You can rest at ease. All the details of travel have been arranged so that you can focus on why you’re there—to connect the Bible and its lands to your life.
Tell me what you think: If you have traveled to Israel, did you feel safe? To leave a comment, just click here.