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Is It Safe to Travel to Israel During Unrest?

Unrest In Israel Response

 

If you have been following the news in Israel, you have most likely heard about some tension and unrest. Whether it be rockets fired into Israel or politics, you are most likely concerned. We understand your concerns and, therefore, want to address this. 

Good News

Before I share the inside perspective of tension and unrest in Israel, let me share good news from our bus driver, whom we are in contact with regularly about safety for tour trips we lead to Israel.

 

Here’s his quote: “Do not worry, my brother, the conditions here are not as the media presents. I now have an American group in these conditions during this month of Ramadan [Muslim Holy Month], and everything is going on safely, and there are no problems.” 

This quote comes during a time of high tension in Israel during Ramadan.

 

Okay, now let’s talk about the inside story of what’s happening in Israel and if we should be concerned. 

Spiritual Warfare

All that’s happening can be traced to spiritual warfare. The Israeli government has been passing new laws allowing Jews to go up on the Temple Mount. The Muslims don’t like this, so they gather rocks and things inside the Al Aqsa Mosque to throw at the Jews when they’re up there. We saw this firsthand recently. The Israeli police have therefore gone into the Al Aqsa Mosque to clear this out and arrest the Muslim protesters. The Temple Mount authority has been given to the Muslims, but the Israeli police control the security there. The surrounding places like Gaza and Lebanon support the Muslims and therefore are aiding them in this spiritual warfare. 

Ramadan

Ramadan is a Muslim holy month. During this time, there is always more tension because the Muslims engage more in Gihad. So this explains why there is more tension during this time. After Ramadan, things will settle down considerably. This is why we don’t plan our trips to Israel during Ramadan. Also, it’s hard to go onto the Temple Mount during Ramadan because it’s so busy with Muslims. 

Most Arabs Are Very Friendly

Every experience we have had with Arabs has been highly positive. They tend to love tourists and see them as positive. 

Our Experiences In Israel During Unrest

We have been in Israel during some terrorist attacks and didn’t even know it until we heard it on the news or someone told us. I’ll briefly share two incidents.  

A few years ago, my wife and I were filming a Bible teaching on the Mount of Olives and heard some helicopter noise. It was somewhat annoying, but we thought nothing of it, as airplanes and helicopters are quite common in Israel. They patrol their skies quite well. Later, we learned that an Arab had run into some Jews by the Damascus bus station. We were just a quarter mile away from this incident. It was dealt with, and life went back to normal very quickly. Later, we took the light rail train that departs beside the Damascus bus station, where this event happened, to our hotel. We didn’t even know what had happened until later. 

On a recent tour trip to Israel with a group, we were at Pilate’s Palace talking about the trial location of Jesus. During the teaching, we heard some sirens and so forth. Later, we learned there had been a terrorist attack inside Old City Jerusalem. After our teaching, we entered the Old City and would never have known anything had happened if we hadn’t been told. 

We have to understand that things happen in a moment in time and then go right back to normal. This is normal for Israel. 

We’ll Avoid Any Hotspots

If, by chance, there is an incident happening, we will just avoid it. Our bus driver is an Arab Christian and has been driving tour buses for many years. He will not lead us into any danger. While in Jerusalem, the Israeli police are incredible and provide fantastic security. Also, tourists are not targeted. In fact, they are welcomed. The tension is between Muslims and Jews. 

Israel’s Iron Dome Defense System

Israel has developed a sophisticated Iron Dome that shoots most rockets fired into Isreal. These rockets can’t reach very far anyway and are not that precise. The chances of us being hit by a rocket are a million to one. It’s not like there are rockets raining down from heaven everywhere in Israel. 

God’s Sovereignty

The hairs on our heads and our days are numbered. We won’t die one minute sooner or later than what God has determined for us, so we can rest in His sovereignty and enjoy His peace and will for us. I tell those who think I am taking a risk in going to Israel that if God determines it’s my time to die, I couldn’t think of a better place to go to be in the presence of the Lord (which is much better than this life) than the Holy Land. 

We are not worried about safety issues in Israel. We fully trust the Lord’s perfect will for us, so we are at peace with our trips. We have gone to Israel many times in the midst of some unrest and haven’t had any issues. There are incidents that happen on occasion, and most of the time, those in Israel don’t even know what’s happened until they hear it on the news. We won’t be canceling any upcoming tour trips to Israel as we have been there many times during unrest, and virtually all of the country functions fine regardless of what’s taking place in a certain area. However, if you feel uncomfortable, we understand. 

We Don’t Cancel Our Trips Unless There Is Extreme Danger

Based on the above info, we have no plans to cancel any upcoming tour trip to Israel. We know it’s hard for some to understand this without having been to Israel. However, life goes on as normal for 99.9 percent of the population, and for those whose lives are interrupted, it’s only for a short time. Then it quickly passes, and life goes back to normal.
 

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