[UPDATE 10/24/14] Unrest in Israel: News from Jerusalem
You’ve no doubt seen the news. Unrest in the Middle East has been a constant throughout history, especially in a place where so many cultures, religious beliefs and political ideas exist alongside one another.
At Inspiration Cruises & Tours, we are always closely monitoring everyday events in Israel. Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our tour groups, and we stay in close contact with our trusted travel partners on the ground there. These operators live, work and vacation in this region, and we rely on them—not the American media—for the most accurate reports.
Though surrounded by Muslim nations with a long history of instability, the truth is that Israel has long been a haven of peace and prosperity in this turbulent region. As you have seen in the past few days, Israel is serious about protecting its borders and the security of its citizens and visitors.
Still, we know the recent tensions might give you pause as you plan for your upcoming tour. That’s why we have been in touch with our friends in Israel whom we work with. Here is their response to our most recent inquiries:
I am sure that all of our friends are concerned about and wondering as to what is happening here in Israel. As you know from the international news broadcasts, we have experienced conflict here in our region.
In spite of this current tension, I can tell you that the Ministry of Tourism has advised that we currently have over 100,000 foreign tourists in the country who are all traveling unimpeded by the current conflicts. As we have reported, Bethlehem and Jericho are open to tourists as are the sites in Samaria as well as Jerusalem and the Galilee. We at Sar-El have our regular summer visitors who are all enjoying their time here.
We do, as always, pray for a swift and positive conclusion to the current situation. Please join us in prayer that “He who makes peace in the heavens will make peace for us and all Israel.” We rest knowing that “He who keeps Israel neither slumbers or sleeps.” Thank you again for your prayers and concern for our nation.
We are encouraged by this report and will continue to monitor what is happening in Israel and the areas under Palestinian authority as your tour approaches. These disturbances are serious, but often flare up and are over in days. In fact, in more than 22 years of traveling to and leading tours in Israel, we have only ever had to cancel one event. We rely on the Israeli Government and the U.S. State Department’s safe travel recommendations as our primary basis for decisions—not the news media.
Despite what you may hear or see on the news, tourism and daily activities in Israel have been unaffected by these escalations in and around Gaza, which is not near where our groups travel. From Jerusalem to Galilee, Israelis are walking to work, visiting museums, dining at sidewalk cafés and raising families just like they do every day.
As of this writing, all upcoming Inspiration events are still scheduled, and we fully expect each to bring wonderful times of personal and spiritual growth for our guests in the Holy Land. Should the local situation change, threatening our tour security or the well-being of our passengers, we will not hesitate to cancel. Again, we take your safety VERY seriously. We remain in close touch with the U.S. State Department and our Israel operators and will update you as necessary. Please feel free to contact us with any other questions you might have.
Is it safe and wise to visit Israel? American communications strategist and Author, Joel C. Rosenburg addressees this question in his latest blog post.
We always seek to give you the most up-to-date information from our friends and suppliers on the ground in Israel. Here is the latest information regarding the current situation in Israel.
In reply to questions regarding tourist arrivals to Israel, we recommend noting the following points.
Headlines about Operation Protective Edge can be alarming, but the reality is that:
- Currently there are more than 100,000 overseas tourists in Israel.
- Flights by some 90 airlines in and out of Israel are operating as normal.
- Tourism sites, museums, holy places and attractions are open and operating.
- For more information please contact the Israel Government Tourism Office in your area. A list of the Offices are located in the site: www.goisrael.com.
- The Ministry of Tourism is in close contact with the security forces, with the local and foreign tourism industry and is following all developments.
We thank you for your support and prayers for us and want to encourage you that our groups are here enjoying their tours in Israel with us as usual. As you have probably read a ceasefire is currently being brokered.
On August 26, after seven weeks of conflict, Israel and Gaza reached an open-ended ceasefire agreement, indefinitely ending the conflict that began over the summer. Since then, the two sides have held to the terms of the truce and are working to reconcile the issues dividing them. According to reports, progress has been made.
We are grateful that peace is again present throughout Israel and in its relations with Gaza. Tourism remains strong. We have led multiple trips to Jerusalem and the surrounding area, and our groups have experienced no safety concerns whatsoever. We are constantly reminded how serious Israel is about protecting its borders and ensuring the safety of its citizens and visitors.
Please join us as we pray for the continued peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).