The Holy Land is a place every Christian should try to visit at least once in their lives. It’s a land steeped in history, culture, and biblical importance that simply must be experienced first hand. Unfortunately, it is also a land steeped in conflict.
When you watch the news and see reports of Hezbollah rocket attacks, indiscriminate kite bombings, and continued skirmishes along border fences, it’s can seem like Israel is a land under siege. For as valuable as a trip to the Holy Land may be, it begs the question – is it safe to visit Israel?
The answer, despite what you may think, is yes.
Nobody is going to say that Israel is a nation without issues. Yes, there are numerous groups and neighbouring states that have sought to destabilize and intimidate the Israeli people for decades, and yes, this often takes the form of violence. But that is only a small part of Israel’s story, and one that should not prevent you from exploring and experiencing its many wonders.
It’s not preventing other people! 2017 was a record-breaking year for Israeli tourism, with more people coming from more quarters of the world than ever before. 3.6 million people safely enjoyed their time visiting the Holy Land last year with no notable incidents of violence or terrorism harming any of them. With 2018 shaping up to exceed 2017’s record numbers, you should be more worried about long lines to some of the most popular sites than anything Hamas is getting up to.
One thing you need to keep in mind is that while Israel has problems, those issues are concentrated in a few key areas. If you go to the Gaza strip for example, you run a higher risk of being involved in an attack because that is an active conflict zone (and has been for years). If you go to the Syrian border, you may be at a higher risk. But these are comparatively small portions of the country. In the vast majority of the country, things work like anywhere else. People go about their business, they travel, gather, go to night clubs, eat at restaurants, and live their lives.
Israel is a very security conscious state, it has to be considering what they’ve been up against historically. As a visitor from a comparatively more peaceful country such as Canada or the US, it may be jarring to see soldiers with rifles at the airport or heavily armed police in some of the larger metropolitans. But those soldiers and police are there not because they are responding to an immediate threat, but to establish a presence and deterrence in those areas -- and it’s been working. The security measures Israel has adopted have been widely successful at deterring large scale attacks, which is why the attacks you do see along the Gaza border, like those balloon bombs for example, are so random and hands-off. Malicious actors know they can’t operate anywhere else with impunity.
Israel is as safe to visit as any other modern, high-population state. There is no reason to deny yourself an incredible experience. Use common sense, check for any travel advisories before leaving for your trip, avoid the most conflict prone areas, and you can be 99.9% sure to enjoy Israel with no problems!