Israel tourism is one of the most extraordinary experiences a person can go through. There’s nothing quite like this magnificent Mediterranean country, a magical mix of religion, nature, nightlife and all the pleasures imaginable in the mind of the modern tourist.
Still, many people find themselves wishing to visit Israel but somewhat fear about their personal safety and security. Well, fear no more! Although Israel is indeed a star in the evening news, visiting Israel is not very different than any other vacation travel.
Crime rates in Israel are much much lower than other countries around the world and the rest is pretty much noise and bad publicity. Israel’s first goal is to protect its citizens and the state security is top-notch, perhaps the best in the world. We all heard the stories about ELAL’s security procedures, making the national Israeli airline to be the safest around the globe, and that’s what Israelis do best – keep things on the safe side.
Of course that all of the above doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take any precautions when traveling, and there are a few pointers to keep in mind, whether you are planning to go by yourself or join an Israel tour.
Going with a group?
- Make sure your tour providers take your personal safety into consideration. The group guides should be up-to-date with important updates received from officials.
- All flights and luggage transfer should be done under the supervision of Israeli security personal.
- Tours are limited to approved and secure locations. Same applies to bus routs.
- Make sure drivers and guides carry cell phones at all times.
- Buses should be inspected before each boarding and never left alone. A more thorough check should be done every morning.
- Reservations and sleeping arrangements are limited to well-known hotel chains.
- Armed security is available upon request.
Going by yourself?
- Avoid Gaza Strip and West Bank. There is a valid travel warning issued by U.S. State Department, warning U.S. citizens to avoid the Hamas controlled territories.
- Avoid religious clashes. For example, don’t travel through Hassidic neighborhoods in Jerusalem on a Saturday as this may cause violent reaction.
- Israel’s summers are blazing hot. Remember to drink plenty of water on an Israel tour and always carry enough water with you.
- Plan carefully and don’t venture into unknown places.
- Know the local emergency phone numbers.
- Make copies of your documentation (including passport, flight tickets, etc…) and keep them in a safe place or upload the information online.
Israel is magnificent and you are going to have a great time in your Holy Land tour. There is no sense in giving up a dreamy Israel tour because of security reasons. Just remember that if you see plenty of cops and military personal walking around – it’s not because there’s a threat, it’s because there isn’t. And that’s the way Israelis want it to be.
So the most important thing is to be reasonable. Don’t take any unnecessary risks and just behave as if you’re back home.