The Travel Factory Blog
Is Israel Safe?
We escorted a group last Feb. to the Holy Land, and I’ve looked back over our comments since we returned and noted that I did not really say a whole lot about it, other than that we had a wonderful, memorable experience. One elderly deacon, while meditating at the Garden Tomb, expressed it this way “my life will never be the same”.
One of the most talked about concerns before we went was about the safety and security issue. That was also a concern when I took a group back in 1995, but on both occasions, there was never a time when anyone in our group felt unsafe or threatened in any manner. Of course, in the past 3 weeks there has been heightened concern about the security for tourist while the fighting between Israel and Gaza has been going on.
The tour operator we have been successfully using for our groups is Educational Tours from Lakeland, Florida. We heard from the CEO of that company several weeks ago and he said in their 38 year history of taking groups and individuals to Israel, there has never been a time in the Middle East that was totally peaceful. He quoted: “since the early 90’s, there have been 2 Gulf Wars, a wave of terrorism, 9/11, 2nd Intifada, 2nd Lebanon War, the Gaza War, Arab Spring, and the Egyptian Revolution, but throughout all of these events the safety of our guests was our main priority” and in bold letters he emphasized, “no guest has been harmed in Israel during any of these events”.
The Minister of Israel Tourism reported this week that despite the headlines and negative news, thousands of tourists continued to arrive in Israel undaunted. He reported that “no airline flights were cancelled and while certain tour itineraries were necessarily adjusted, there was neither panic nor overt concern. Altogether, some 100,000 tourists continued vacationing in our country and we in Israel were honored by their presence”. He reported that 2012 was the best year ever for tourism to Israel, and that tourism in their country is “a stabilizing element in their economy, it generates income, short and long term investments, but most of all, it shows that there is still goodwill and mutual causes that can act as a uniting and peaceful factor”.
That, of course, is encouraging news to those of us who plan on going to the Holy Land again next year. In fact, we are building another group to travel over there July 31-Aug. 9. We will travel from the Sea of Galilee on the north down to Masada and the Dead Sea on the south, and visit, among other places, Tiberias, Capernaum, Nazareth, Megiddo, Caesarea, Jericho, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem in between.
If you are the slight bit interested, let me encourage you to go to our website, www.thetravelfactoryabilene.com, and click on the tab “Featured Tours”. There you will find our brochure describing the tour and cost. Give us a call at The Travel Factory, 698-1421 or 800-760-4040 or drop in and visit at 4150 Southwest Drive at the Plaza at Park Central. We would love to visit with you about truly, a trip of a lifetime!!