Contrary to what you may see on television, Israel is safe to travel
Headlines and news focal points tend to mirage the reality of what it is actually like to live and travel through Israel. Stories and pictures of terrorism are often the only things highlighted. As much as it is true that Israel deals with its share of warring, especially with its neighbors, it is no different than most other countries that you would choose to visit. Unlike some countries, Israel is actually very invested in its homeland security. Men and women as young as eighteen years old can be seen carrying around weapons as they police the streets and Israel’s airport security alone takes a very in depth approach, but all of this is actually a positive as Israel takes security protocols seriously and in turn there is a greater level of safety for travelers and the people who live there.
As with any part of the world, you want to be aware of current events in the area your visiting and take safety precautions as needed. Following are some tips to help you feel safe as you travel out of the country.
Travel in groups
Traveling within group tours provides a greater level and sense of security as you will travel around Israel with guides who have experience with Israel’s geographics and locals. Group tours often focus on historic and religious sites that are filled with tourists just like you, helping you feel more at ease. Along with traveling with and amongst fellow tourists, you have the benefit of your tour guides insider tips. They’re familiar with the locals and have connections as they do this for a living. Relational connections between your tour guide and the locals is a huge benefit to you as a tourist. Ultimately your tour guide is there to ensure that you get the most out of your visit and will avoid unsafe regions so that your cultural experience is not sacrificed.
Take a crash course in the locals language
It is never a bad idea to learn a few phrases of the countries language that you are visiting. Not only will this help you communicate with the locals but it will add to your enjoyment throughout your visit. The Israeli people are kind and generous. English is taught in almost every school across the country so they are happy to dialogue with you. The three official languages you’ll find spoken throughout the country include Hebrew, Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic. Hebrew is the most common language spoken, than Arabic and so forth. Whatever you are able to learn will only be a benefit to you as you travel lsrael.
High Risk areas to Avoid
As a traveler it is always a good idea to know some of the areas to avoid when visiting another country. When visiting Israel stay clear of the West Bank as their security is unpredictable. You can still visit Bethlehem, Jericho and Ramallah but its recommended to travel with a reputable tour operator who can manage unexpected conflicts safely as these cities are surrounded by contested regions. The Gaza Strip should be avoided entirely. Finally, for safe measure, avoid political demonstrations and keep an eye on current events so you remain aware of what’s happening on the streets throughout your visit.
Be watchful of Scams
As with most areas of the world, scam artists are everywhere. Particularly in high tourism areas. Though this is nothing to stress yourself out over, it is still a good idea to be mindful of vulnerable situations. Petty crime is low in Israel but that isn’t to say that it doesn’t ever happen. Pickpockets and thieves will always be looking to prey on those with their guard down so keep your valuables close and if possible enclosed in zippered packs that rest in front of you and don’t travel with more than you need. If you do find yourself in a vulnerable situation remember that safety is far more important than a wallet or cell phone.
Don’t look like a tourist
Israel is a country with a strong religious background and many sacred tourism sites. When traveling, it is important to be mindful and respectful of the area you are visiting. A good tip is to pack clothing options that are lightweight, breathable and more on the conservative side. Israel can be hot and humid and there are places that tourists visit where they will not be allowed in if their shoulders and knees are not covered. Sunglasses are also a good idea in case you’re ever in need of avoiding eye contact with an unexpected hassler.
See what visitors say about their trip to Israel on our Facebook page:
“Always felt safe in Israel. A life changing trip. Deena is a wonderful guide.”
“We have been twice and never felt unsafe.”
“Felt totally safe when we were there in Nov. 2018. ❤️ our trip!”
“We always feel safe in Israel. Traveling with Friendship Tours is a great experience. They really know what they are doing”
Though Israel comes with the usual and some more specific risks to be aware of, it is also a nation of great spiritual and historic significance. Enjoy what Israel has to offer. Make memories and immerse yourself in experiences of a lifetime. No matter where you travel it is always good to know about where you are visiting and to be mindful as you step into new territory. Interested in taking a guided group tour of Israel? Visit our scheduled tours pages.