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Christmas in Bethlehem
Many visitors preparing for a trip to Israel ask the question, is Israel safe? Tourism to Israel is setting record levels in 2011, up 4% in 2011 over the previous peak of 3.45 million registered in 2010. The Holy Land is generally a safe place to visit and tourists do feel secure while moving about the country. However, people do need to be mindful of their surroundings and the regions they are traveling to as rare attacks of terror can occur and the ongoing conflict with terror cells in the Gaza Strip can result in missile fire. Accordingly, the US government is advising people to be mindful of where they are traveling at the present time and specifically informs people to be particularly careful in southern Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The video below captures the testimonies of recent travelers in the country, including Pastor Jack Hayford, who were here on a Holy Land tour with Inspiration Tours.
Two people were killed in two separate attacks in the woods outside of Jerusalem and several were injured in one bomb blast in March 2011, near the Jerusalem central bus station. Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip remains a possibility considering the current conflict and tourists should review the travel advisories prior to setting off to certain areas of the Holy Land. The most recent conflict with Gaza lasted 8 days.
Birth rates are lower in Israel than in most Western nations and terrorism has decreased significantly in recent years due to improved security and a calming in hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Tourists sites in both Israel and the Palestinian areas are safe and have been off limits to terror attacks.
Armed security guards are stationed at many establishments in Israel for your safety. They may inspect your bags or use a metal detector upon entry.
Travelers can rest assured that not only has Israel proven itself a safe place in the last decade, but safety in Palestinian areas has also increased greatly in the last few years. As first reported by Travelujah "West Bank Tourism Surge" , Palestinian cities are now patrolled by a highly trained police force and more tourists are venturing over the border as well. Many of the tourists who enter Israel, also go to Palestinian cities as well and Bethlehem in particular. Passage from Israel to West Bank cities is also safe and requires a passport check at the crossing. Nevertheless, we recommend that all visitors be vigilant of their surroundings and refer to the US State Department Travel Advisory website prior to traveling into the West Bank.
Hospitals and clinics are conveniently located around the country and equipped to take care of foreigners in the event of an emergency. No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
The U.S. State Department occasionally issues travel advisories, but threats are usually limited to certain areas in the nation. Currently the US government warns its citizens to be vigilant while traveling in Jerusalem, the West Bank and in the southern part of Israel. The most recent travel update can be read at this link.
Travelujah posts travel safety updates as warranted.