Is Israel Safe to Travel to? Your Insider’s Guide for 2022
Is Israel safe to travel to? The short answer is yes, most of the time.
But why do so many people feel that it isn’t? Why are there so many negative assumptions about the safety of Israel?
If you have a trip to Israel booked for the year ahead, you may be concerned about how safe it is to travel to Israel right now. In general, Israel is a destination that many people are apprehensive about travelling to.
Unfortunately, clashes between Israel and Gaza in 2021 have not helped matters. In truth, Israel is safe 99% of the time.
Is Israel Safe?
The Middle East is a complicated part of the world. Unfortunately, Israel has less than perfect relationships with several of its neighbour countries.
Most of the time, life in Israel goes on as normal, just like anywhere else in the world. You can travel to Israel, laze on the white-sand beaches of Tel Aviv, party in the chic bars of Rothschild’s Boulevard, and meander through the souks of Jerusalem with no problems.
During your trip, you will likely forget that you are in an area that has seen a lot of conflicts. But it is important to be aware of the current political and terror situation here.
Israel and the Pandemic
Israel closed itself off from the world throughout most of the pandemic. It is only as of January 2022 that the country is welcoming international travellers once again.
You must be fully vaccinated in order to enter Israel, and you need to take a PCR test 72 hours prior to your flight. Protocols and restrictions are likely to change at a moment’s notice so monitor the Israel travel advisory closely before your scheduled travel dates.
You need to complete and submit an entry statement 48 hours prior to your flight to Israel. This can be found online here.
Upon arrival in Israel, you will be required to take a PCR test at your own expense, and to quarantine until you receive a negative result. It is a good idea to pack all of the same sanitary items that you would use in your home country to protect against the pandemic.
For instance, hand sanitiser, wet wipes for both skin and surfaces, face masks, self-tests, etc. Restrictions in Israel may differ from those in your own country so double check before you travel.
Israel and its Neighbours
Israel is in a continuous state of conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. While these two groups distinguish themselves as political parties, they are seen as terrorist organisations in the west.
Israel maintains a constant presence in the West Bank, Gaza strip, and in various regions across the country. Occasionally, local events can trigger new waves of fighting and unrest. Recently, months of tension manifested itself in the form of rockets being fired at Tel Aviv from Gaza.
This sounds incredibly alarming. However, this is an exceptionally rare occurrence
You should also keep in mind that buildings in Tel Aviv are built to be blast-proof. Israel also has an excellent defense system known as “the Iron Dome” which intercepts and shoots down rockets.
On the rare occasions that rockets are fired, they do not get anywhere near civilisation. In the extremely rare event that Israeli authorities are concerned, a siren is sounded. In this event, you would be led to a shelter to take cover.
Reflecting on all of this may make you continue to question if Israel is safe. After all, if you’re going to go on vacation, better to go somewhere where there is zero risk of rocket fire, right?
Again, to reiterate, this is extremely rare and unlikely. But it is worth being informed so that you know that safety measures are in place in the event of an absolutely worst-case scenario.
Media Portrayal of Israel
All you need to do is conduct a Google search for the word “Israel” and you are met with negativity and images of conflict. That is not the Israel that exists most of the time.
Mainstream media certainly has a tendency to blow any negative occurrences way out of proportion to make the country seem as though it is a no-go warzone. Why does this happen?
Sensationalism sells papers and maximises ad revenue. Heartwarming travel stories do not.
Is it Safe to Travel to Israel in 2022?
Is Israel safe to travel to in 2022? It is important to be informed about the latest developments in the region.
Before you travel to Israel, follow the news in the region and check your government’s latest advice. The UK government travel advice is updated periodically and contains comprehensive information about visiting Israel.
Not all areas of Israel are safe. The UK foreign office advises against all travel to the Gaza strip, the Sheba’a Farms and Ghajar, and the area within 500m of the border with Lebanon (the ‘Blue Line’) east of Metula.
You should not attempt to travel to the Gaza strip. There is no consular assistance available here and trying to enter the region could see you deported from Israel.
Recent Developments in the Region
In May 2021, Hamas fired over 4000 rockets into Israel, from Gaza. Israel responded with rocket fire.
A ceasefire came into effect on 21 May 2021. Tensions have now subsided but things can escalate quickly.
Aside from the conflicts with Gaza, Israel has tumultuous relationships with others in the region. Israel is also a strong ally of the United States – something which is not looked at favourably in some parts of the Middle East.
On the 3rd of January 2020, the US fired a rocket at an Iranian military convoy in Iraq killing Qasem Soleimani – the Iranian military’s Major General. This assassination saw Iran make threats towards Israel.
Iranian threats towards Israel are not uncommon. Iran does not recognise Israel as a country. This can seem unnerving, but a war would not be in anybody’s best interests and is extremely unlikely.
Is Israel Safe to Travel to in 2022?
Border Controls May be Stricter Than You are Used to
It is not uncommon to be subjected to questioning when you enter and exit Israel. Border guards may question what you are doing in the country. They may also review the stamps in your passport and ask you questions about your recent travels.
Don’t be intimidated. This is standard protocol and these measures are only in place for your safety.
Crime Rates in Israel
There is a moderate risk of crime in Israel – particularly in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. One reassuring takeaway, however, is the fact that crime rates in Israel are typically lower than those in most American cities.
In terms of general crime in Israel, the global crime index ranks Israel as safer than a lot of western countries. That includes the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada.
Petty theft is a concern in tourist places This is the case in many large cities and travel destinations.
Be careful in the Old Town of Jerusalem at night. Try and avoid East Jerusalem and the area surrounding the Mount of Olives – particularly after dark.
This is a Palestinian area. Clashes between Israelis and Palestinians often happen here. Harassment and groping of women have also been reported in this area.
The situation between Israel and its Neighbours
Israel is bordered by the Palestinian territories (Gaza & the West Bank), Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan. Israel has a peaceful relationship with Egypt and Jordan and it is wholly possible to cross over into these countries as part of a wider Middle East itinerary.
Conversely, it is not possible to cross the border into Syria or Lebanon at this time. If you plan on combining a trip to Israel, with a trip to Egypt or Jordan, check the border opening times in advance. Borders are subject to closures with little notice.
Military and Police Presence in Israel
Israeli towns and cities have a strong military presence. Armed soldiers and police officers are stationed everywhere, particularly at transport hubs and tourist sites.
Truthfully the presence is not so strong that it feels in any way scary or intimidating. The additional security is in place for your safety, after all.
You may occasionally have to go through airport-style security scanners to enter train stations and tourist sites. Sometimes, lockers are provided to store certain items. At the Temple Mount, for instance, you are not permitted to carry selfie sticks.
Terrorism in Israel
The terrorist threat in Israel is considered “high”. Several incidents have happened over the last few years.
However, most attacks have targeted Israeli interests and IDF soldiers as opposed to tourists. Attacks in tourist areas cannot be ruled out. This “high risk” is no different from the current risks in London, Paris, and other major European and Middle Eastern cities.
14 Useful Tips for Staying Safe in Israel
A few safety pointers to consider when travelling to Israel are detailed below. A lot of the advice included here is common-sense practice for wherever you travel.
Purchase Comprehensive Travel Insurance for Your Trip
It is prudent to make sure that you have comprehensive travel insurance when you travel anywhere. Israel is no exception.
Medical facilities and hospitals in Israel are excellent. You can expect the same quality of service (or better) in Israel as you would in the USA, the UK, or other Western nations.
The cost of medical treatment in Israel is VERY expensive. Ensure that you have a comprehensive insurance plan that provides medical coverage of at least $1million.
The best insurance policies also cover things such as repatriation and cancellation. You should ensure that you always have your insurance paperwork with you.
At the very least, jot down your policy number. This will be the first thing that you are asked for if you need medical assistance in Israel.
Be Mindful of Your Mode of Transport
Israel is a small country that is easy to explore by public transport. Buses and sheruts (shared cabs) operate within the cities. Light rail services and buses run from one city to another.
There have been a number of incidents on the light rail between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The best way to travel between the cities is to take a bus. Abraham Hostels operate a shuttle service that goes back and forth each day.
Hitchhiking is not recommended in Israel, but many travellers do it. If you want to rent a car to get around, you cannot travel into the West Bank with Israeli license plates. If you want to explore the West Bank, you should rent a car in East Jerusalem that has Palestinian plates.
Keep Your Belongings Safe
Always keep an eye on your personal belongings and never leave your luggage unattended. This is good advice wherever you travel. Don’t flash expensive items and make yourself a target for petty criminals.
Keep your fancy camera packed away in your backpack rather than hanging around your neck. Don’t travel with expensive jewelry or accessories on display.
You can also consider purchasing specific anti-theft luggage, e.g. Pacsafe items. These come with additional security features that make it tricky for opportunists to access your things.
The bags are a little pricier than your standard backpack, sure. However, they are durable, come with a multiyear warranty, and are made from material that is both slash-proof and water-resistant.
Write Down the Details of Your Embassy
Most trips to Israel are trouble-free and yours should be too! It is always useful to have your embassy’s information handy for wherever you travel. The details of the American and British embassies in Israel are detailed below.
American Embassy in Israel
Address: HaYarkon St 71, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Contact Number: +972 3-519-7575
British Embassy in Israel
Address: HaYarkon St 192, Tel Aviv-Yafo, 6340502, Israel
Contact Number: +972 3-725-1222
Write Down Emergency Contact Details
In case of an emergency, make sure that you always know what numbers to call. Useful contacts in Israel are detailed below. Services are generally available in Hebrew and English.
Make a Copy of Your Passport and Banking Details
Your passport is your most important travel document and it should be kept safe at all times. If you prefer to keep your passport in your hotel safe, make a photocopy of your information page. Keep one copy in your luggage, and one copy in your backpack.
Ensure that you have your banking details written down somewhere safe, and keep your bank’s phone numbers handy just in case your cards are ever lost or stolen. It’s best to prepare for even the worst-case scenarios!
Considerations for Solo Female Travellers
I spent just under three weeks travelling solo in Israel. I am a twenty-something solo female traveller.
First, I flew into Tel Aviv and spent five days hanging out on Tel Aviv’s beaches and in its trendy neighbourhoods like Neve Tzedek and Florentin. From there, I travelled on to Haifa, Nazareth, Jerusalem, and the Dead Sea before crossing into the West Bank, Palestine, and then heading over the border to Jordan.
I had no negative experiences as a solo female traveller. Israelis were very kind, welcoming, and friendly. In fact, they were some of the nicest people I met on my travels. Men did not bother me, and I never felt unsafe.
Travelling to the Occupied Palestinian Territories
It is possible to travel to the West Bank and indeed, there is lots to see and learn there. Travel to Gaza is not permitted.
It is generally advisable not to tell the Israeli border guards that you plan on visiting the West Bank when you land in Tel Aviv. Travel to Palestine is perfectly okay. However, revealing this may subject you to more suspicion and questioning.
Understand the Matter of the Passport Stamp
If you have an Israel stamp in your passport, you will be prohibited from entering several countries that do not consider Israel as a state. Fortunately, when you arrive in Israel, you are handed a blue slip of paper that essentially acts as a replacement for the stamp.
You must keep this slip of blue paper in your possession for the duration of your trip. Hotels will often ask to see it in place of your passport.
It is then returned to immigration when leaving the country. You can read more information about the Israel passport stamp here.
Do Your Research Before Crossing Land Borders
You can cross the border from Israel into Jordan and Egypt. You cannot cross into Syria or Lebanon due to conflict between the two countries and Israel.
Crossing Middle Eastern land borders is less daunting than it sounds, even if you are doing so alone. Be mindful that should you cross a land border between Israel and Egypt or Jordan, a passport stamp will act as proof that you have travelled there.
This can cause problems at certain Middle Eastern border controls. You can ask the border control guards to stamp your Israeli entrance paper instead. They are not obligated to do so, but most are happy to assist.
If you are travelling to Israel as part of a wider Middle East itinerary, you may wish to consider leaving Israel until the end of your trip, particularly if you are using land borders. This way you will not experience difficulty getting into other countries.
Read Your Government Travel Advice Before You Go
Before you travel to Israel, check the news for any recent developments in the country and keep up to date with your government’s latest Israel travel advice. Tensions and conflict can change and escalate at a moment’s notice.
The UK Government’s travel advice for Israel can be found here.
The US Government’s travel advice for Israel can be found here.
Always Carry Your Hotel’s Business Card
It is good practice to always take a business card from your hotel. This contains the address in the local language (Hebrew in Israel).
It also contains a contact number. If you need to take a cab, this is an easy way of showing the driver where you want to go.
Food Quality in Israel
Food in Israel is excellent and hygiene standards are very good. This is not a place where you have to worry about what or where you eat.
The government health department carries out periodical inspections. This even happens at takeaway places and falafel stands.
Israeli cuisine is essentially Arabic food. Expect plenty of delicious falafels, filling shawarmas, fragrant tabbouleh, and delicious marinated meats.
Is it Safe to Drink the Water in Israel?
Officially you can drink the water in Israel. However, it can still give you an upset stomach if you are not used to it.
Stick drinking mineral water to be safe. Alternatively, you can carry a lifestraw to purify tap water yourself and be more environmentally friendly in the process.
Is Jerusalem Safe?
Jerusalem can often feel slightly tenser than the rest of the country. This beautiful ancient city is a place of extreme importance for people of various religions. Here, Jews, Muslims, and Christians live in close proximity to each other.
Most of the time, everything is fine, but occasionally there are clashes. As such, you will see a higher level of military presence in Jerusalem.
None of this should put you off visiting. Jerusalem is a fascinating place that feels like a journey back in time. There is plenty to see here. Just be careful in the Old City after dark.
Relax and Have a Great Trip!
It is easy to get worked up and feel nervous about travelling somewhere for the first time. This is especially true when that destination is often in the media for all the wrong reasons. When you arrive in Israel, you will probably feel completely different.
By all means, do your research. But don’t forget to focus your energy on planning and enjoying your trip.
Have any further questions or concerns about whether it is safe to travel to Israel, or about drawing up an Israel travel itinerary? Feel free to reach out or drop me a comment below.
Safe travels! Melissa xo
Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe – including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.
The Best Time to Visit Israel in 2022
Israel is an incredible country. It has a rich history and culture, and the food is to die for. But when is the best time to visit Israel?
Figuring out the best time to visit Israel is a tricky question to answer because there is so much to do in this incredible country. Some outdoor, cultural, and historical activities and events can keep you excited for years.
Don’t worry. We will help you figure out the best time to travel to Israel no matter what your goals for the trip are – beautiful beaches, outdoor adventure, fantastic food, or the best deals.
Plus, we will let you know the worst time to visit Israel (if there were such a thing) and give you some tips that will make your trip to Israel perfect. Let us be your guide!
Why You Should Visit Israel
There are many reasons why you should visit Israel. It is a country with a long and rich history, beautiful scenery, and friendly people. There are also many things to do in Israel, making it an excellent destination for a vacation.
Israel has a bit of everything. Biblical ruins, cosmopolitan cities, dramatic landscapes, and many historical sites date back thousands of years. Israel also has incredible beaches where you can soak up the sun while enjoying the Mediterranean sea breeze.
Jerusalem is also one of the top reasons to visit Israel. Christians, Muslims, and Jews consider this city a holy site. Jerusalem is home to many important historical and religious sites.
Some of the other top reasons to visit Israel include:
- The Dead Sea: The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth, and the water is very salty. It is also a popular destination for people seeking to experience its healing properties.
- The Golan Heights: The Golan Heights is a beautiful Israel area with stunning views. There are also many ancient ruins in the Golan Heights.
- Akko: Akko is an old city with a rich history. It was once the capital of the crusader kingdom of Jerusalem.
- Ein Gedi: Ein Gedi is a nature reserve home to many different species of plants and animals. You can also go hiking and relax in the Ein Gedi.
- The Negev Desert: The Negev Desert is a large desert that covers over half of Israel. It is a beautiful and unique landscape that is worth exploring.
There is no doubt that Israel is a world-class tourist destination. One of the most wonderful aspects of visiting Israel is that there is something to do for everyone.
No matter what you are interested in, you can find something fun and exciting to do while visiting this incredible country.
Overall Best Time to Visit Israel
The answer to that question depends on what you want to do while in Israel. If you are looking to enjoy the nightlife and club scene, the best time to visit would be during the summer when the weather is hot, and the clubs are open late.
However, if you are looking to enjoy the beach and outdoor activities, the best time to visit would be spring or fall when the weather is milder.
The busiest time to visit Israel is during the summer when everyone enjoys the warm weather. However, the summer is also the most expensive time to visit as hotel prices and airfare prices are at their peak.
If you are looking to save money, the best time to visit would be during the spring and fall shoulder seasons. During this time of year, there are fewer tourists.
Despite the appeal of visiting during summer, the best time to visit Israel is the shoulder season. The shoulder season occurs in the spring (March to May) and in the fall (September to November).
The weather during shoulder season is milder, making it more comfortable to enjoy all the outdoor activities that Israel offers. Plus, there are fewer tourists during shoulder season, so you will be able to get better deals on hotels and airfare.
The shoulder season perfectly balances saving money, avoiding crowds, and enjoying the weather. This combination is hard to beat, and I highly recommend you visit Israel during the shoulder season if possible.
In addition to the season, some of the best times to visit Israel are during certain holidays. For example, holidays like Sukkot (in September or October), Purim (in February), and Yom Haatzmaut (in May) are huge celebrations.
During these celebrations, there are significant cultural displays and massive parties. Israelis know how to throw a good party, and visiting during these holidays can take your vacation to the next level.
Cheapest Time to Visit Israel
The most affordable time to visit Israel is during the winter, from November to March. The weather is cooler, and there are fewer tourists, so prices for hotels and flights are lower. If you are looking to save money, this is the best time to visit Israel.
During the winter, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem take a break from the massive summer tourist crowds. There are fewer tourists, dramatically decreasing lodging, attractions, and food prices.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of tourism, many shops and businesses also close for the winter. Remember that Israel is in the Mediterranean, and even in the winter months, the days can be pretty warm. Pack your bags accordingly!
The cheapest time to fly to Israel is usually November. It is vital to get to Israel before Passover. During Passover, many Israelis go on vacation outside of Israel, and it can be challenging to get a flight.
One way to get cheap tickets to Israel is to buy a flight to a hub like London Heathrow, Frankfurt, or Rome and then buy a cheap ticket on a low-cost airline to get you to Israel.
Least Busy Time to Visit Israel
The least busy time to visit Israel is during the winter, from December to February. The cool and dry weather makes it a great time to explore the country.
However, the weather may close some attractions and activities during this time. December to February is considered the low season, and there are not many tourists in Israel. Shoulder season is also a time when few people are visiting Israel.
The shoulder season occurs twice, once in the spring (March to May) and again in the fall (September to November). There is still some tourism during shoulder season, but it is dramatically reduced.
Shoulder season can be the ideal time to visit because most tourist attractions are still open, and the weather is good, but you save money compared to visiting during the high season.
Worst Time to Visit Israel
The worst time to visit Israel is during the summer because it is the hottest time of year and can be pretty uncomfortable. The heat can also make it difficult to do activities and see sights.
If you must visit during the summer, try to go early or late in the season when it is not as hot. There is nothing quite as frustrating as waiting in line while under the baking sun.
That will likely happen if you visit some big tourist attractions during summer. The summer is also when the crowds are at their peak. Large groups can make it challenging to secure lodging or tickets to the events/attractions you want to visit.
Plus, the summer is also the most expensive time to visit Israel. Israel is an expensive country to visit in the first place, and it can become cost-prohibitive if you visit in the summer.
It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for Jewish holidays. Everything shuts down during Passover (which usually occurs in April) and Yom Kippur (usually in September).
During these times, it can be difficult to find some food or use public transportation. It can be fantastic to experience these holidays, but they can also throw a wrench in your plans if you are not careful.
Things to Consider
Before your trip to Israel, be sure to keep in mind the following:
- Before your trip, keep an eye out for upcoming Jewish holidays. Depending on what you want to experience, they can heavily influence your journey.
- Keep in mind that Israel is a Mediterranean country, and the weather can be quite variable, even in the winter. Pack your bags accordingly!
- The weather may close some attractions and activities during the winter.
- Israeli tourist visits allow for a maximum stay of three months.
- The currency in Israel is the Shekel.
- Don’t forget to pack modest clothing – this is required to visit some religious sites.
- Pack an adapter for electrical outlets.
Keep these things in mind before your trip to Israel. These helpful reminders will help you enjoy your vacation to the fullest.
Frequently Asked Questions
To help you plan your vacation to this incredible place, I have also answered some common questions people ask about traveling to Israel.
Is March a good time to visit Israel?
The weather in Israel is perfect in March. The average temperature is 72°F, so you can enjoy the beautiful outdoors without feeling too hot. March is also ideal for visiting if you want to avoid the crowds.
Tourist season does not start until April, so you will have the place primarily for yourself. Remember that March is also the rainy season, so pack your raincoat. You will still be able to enjoy all the activities Israel offers.
Just be prepared for some wet weather. If you are prepared to handle a little bit of rain, March can be one of the best months to visit Israel. There are fewer crowds, and it is also cheaper.
Is November a good time to visit Israel?
The weather in Israel during November ranges from mild to cool, with average temperatures of 65-75°F. The Mediterranean Sea is still warm enough for swimming, although you may need a wetsuit in the early morning and evening hours.
November is considered off-season in Israel, so hotel prices are lower than usual. November is an excellent time to visit if you are looking for a bargain. Keep in mind, however, that some tourist attractions may be closed or have limited hours during this time of year.
Traveling to Israel in November is similar to traveling in March. It is a great time to avoid the crowds and high season prices. It is a great way to experience a more authentic Israel.
What is the best time to visit Israel?
It is difficult to answer this question, as Israel has many different sides that can be explored, and the weather conditions vary greatly depending on which part of the country you are visiting.
The greatest time of year to visit Israel is between September and November when the weather is mild and there are fewer tourists.
However, if you are interested in exploring the desert regions of Israel, the best time to visit is between April and October, when the temperatures are not too hot. The most affordable time of the year to visit Israel is during the winter months, from December to February.
However, remember that many attractions and activities will be closed during this time due to the weather conditions. The least busy time to visit Israel is during the shoulder season, from March to May and October to November.
This time of the year is a great time to explore the country without the crowds, but you may need to deal with some rain. The best time to visit Israel depends on what you want to get out of your trip.
What are Israeli travel requirements?
All visitors to Israel must have a passport valid for at least six months from the date of their return ticket. Israel does not require visitors from most countries to get a visa prior to arrival .
Israel will give citizens from most countries a tourist visa upon arrival, which is suitable for up to three months. Those who intend to stay longer or work in Israel must obtain the appropriate visa from an Israeli consulate before arrival.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Israel?
The best time to visit Israel depends on what you want to do and see during your trip. If you want to avoid large crowds of tourists and save money, plan your trip for the shoulder season or off-season.
The shoulder season is the ideal time of year to visit. Remember that the weather conditions vary greatly depending on which part of the country you are visiting, so be sure to pack appropriate clothing.
No matter when you decide to visit, Israel is a country full of history, culture, and natural beauty that will leave you with lasting memories. Happy travels!
Is traveling to Israel safe?
This is probably the question I have been asked the most.
Whether you’re floating in the Dead Sea, lying on the beach in Tel Aviv, or hiking at Masada, you will feel safe (and be safe).
Most of the tourists I take on tours tell me they feel safer strolling around Tel Aviv or Jerusalem in the evening or at night than they do in their own hometowns.
Surveys shows that tourists feel a high degree of personal safety in Israel (and they rate taxi drivers very poorly – but that is a different matter).
This did not happen yesterday
So why do people think Israel isn’t safe?
Most of what you hear about Israel on the news won’t give you the impression that Israel is a safe destination: rockets from Gaza, terrorism, Hezbollah and the war in Syria that is filtering through to Israel…
The media, and mostly the news, creates a very selective (and mostly negative) portrait of Israel. The reality is very different.
Fear of visiting Israel comes from a lack of knowledge, which ironically comes from all of the over-reporting in the media.
The Arab-Israeli conflict is one of the smallest conflicts in the world in terms of casualties. You hear a great deal about it for two main reasons:
1) Places in the holy land such as Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth are part of the West’s cultural heritage, meaning that every small incident that occurs there is reported on by all the different media outlets. If something were to happen in a city in China or Africa, most people wouldn’t have heard of the place and, therefore, wouldn’t pay any attention to it or place any importance on it.
2) If a tree fell in a forest and a hundred photographers captured the image, does that mean the tree fell a hundred times?
It’s very easy to be a foreign reporter in Israel. Israel is a Western country with a developed infrastructure and, more importantly, it’s a democratic country with freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and human rights. It’s easy for a foreign journalist to stay in a Jerusalem hotel, wake up in the morning and drive twenty minutes to Bethlehem, snap some pictures of a demonstration (and a demonstration of young people facing off with soldiers always makes for good pictures), before driving back to Jerusalem, sending the pictures to Western media outlets, and going out for a drink in the evening.
This is also the reason why there are more foreign journalists in Jerusalem than in most other important cities in the world.
Let me be clear:
I am not saying that the media is lying to you and that if you come you’ll find peace in the Middle East.
The political situation is complicated and won’t be solved any time soon. But just as you can travel safely in the U.S. even though there are mass shootings there once in a while, and just as you can travel safely in Europe even though terror attacks occur there, you can also travel and feel safe in Israel.
Security in Israel
Since Israel has long history of dealing with terror, there is more security in public places.
The first place you’ll encounter it is at the airport. In the past tourists noticed it more, but today you see armed forces in most airports around the world so you probably won’t consider it to be unusual.
If you are (or were) a member of an extreme rightwing, leftwing, or religious organization, there is a good chance that you’ll be asked about it. Somehow they know.
There are two things that most Western tourists notice regarding security in Israel:
1) Upon entering public places you’ll encounter a civilian guard who asks you to open your bag and let them see what is inside. At entrances to train or central bus stations you will need to put your bags through a baggage scanner.
2) Israel has compulsory national service. Men have to serve three years and women two years. However a soldier won’t (and isn’t allowed to) approach you unless you’re going through a checkpoint.
I am mentioning it here because in Israel you do see more soldiers than in other countries. On Sunday mornings you’ll see a lot soldiers on the streets as they head back to their army camps, and on Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings you’ll see them coming back home.
In the center of Tel Aviv, next to HaShalom train station, is a big army base, so you’ll see a lot of soldiers around there.
Be responsible for your own safety
No one can guarantee that nothing will happen, but there are things that you can do to minimize unnecessary risks. It’s quite simple really…
Don’t try to enter Gaza.
Don’t try to cross a border where you shouldn’t.
Distance yourself from violent demonstrations if you run into them.
And as Lt Dan said: Try not to do anything stupid, like getting yourself killed.
Here you can check with the U.S department of State to see if there are is any risk involved in traveling in the area.
And now that you know that Israel is safe, you can start planning your trip to Israel.
If you’re planning a trip to Israel and want my team to build you a whole package including luxury hotels, guides and attractions, then you can schedule a call here.If you’re traveling on a modest budget, you can also purchase my Booklets, in which I basically wrote down everything that I say on my 3 most popular tours: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and the Judaean Desert. I also added maps, pictures and graphics which will enable you to be your own guide. The booklets are only sold outside Israel, so order now and come prepared! Or download as a PDF or EPUB (e-book) .
I want my internet site to be the best source of information about traveling to Israel. For that to be the case, I need your help. I want to know what you want to know, so if you have any questions, please write them down here and I will do my best to answer them!