Safety and Preparation for fall Israel Tours July 7, 2016

Summer months in Israel are dry and extremely hot, keeping most Western travelers at bay. The Israel tours we lead tend to be in the more temperate spring and fall—warm but pleasant—with sunny days and cool evenings.

Right now, we are getting ready to lead Christian pilgrims on life-changing study tours and worship experiences during the months of September, October and November. Autumn is a popular time for those who want to observe the biblical Feast of Tabernacles, which occurs during this season. We continue to monitor developments in Israel on a daily basis so that we can offer our passengers an exceptional travel experience that puts their safety first.

Recently, western media outlets have reported minor attacks in the contested West Bank region. Two Israelis have been killed by Palestinians and a rocket from Gaza struck an empty kindergarten. These events prompted a closure of Hebron (the West Bank’s largest city) and a response from Israel’s military. Disputes over this territory have been common in recent years and are the main reason we never include the West Bank on any of our tours.

As always, we remain in close touch with the Israel Ministry of Tourism as well as our trusted travel guides and security teams in the Holy Land. They report that day-to-day life continues normally in places where we spend our time. Travelers and residents alike continue to visit open-air markets, archeological sites and enjoy a beautiful summer in Israel. In fact, more tourists are coming to Israel than in years past. New luxury hotels are opening in Jerusalem, a multimillion-dollar airport is nearing completion in Eilat and a number of new flight options from North America to Israel are in the planning stages.

We take the safety and security of our passengers seriously and will continue to monitor situations even in areas we do not enter. Thank you for standing in solidarity with the people of Israel and praying for peace to reign in this land (Psalm 122:6).


Tourists and locals enjoy sun and sand along the Mediterranean shoreline of Tel Aviv, Israel.





Safety Report: Public Transportation in Jerusalem April 21, 2016

Recent news coverage shows a bus bombing that happened in Jerusalem Monday. By the time the media began reporting on it, our team was already monitoring the situation. Only two people suffering injuries required hospitalization—one of whom may have been a suspect in the attack. We are immensely grateful that this was the extent of the injuries.

It’s important to note that the targeted bus was not a private tour bus, and the attack was not aimed at spiritual pilgrims. This is of great importance to us, as we have a tour of over 600 people who just returned safely from the Holy Land and another tour scheduled to leave in the next week.

Among the friends and colleagues we communicated with yesterday were a number of Americans staying in a hotel less than a mile from the bombing. Along with the below photo showing smoke from the event above the Jerusalem skyline, they reported that life in the city seemed completely “normal” in spite of the incident. People continued working, dining with friends and walking Jerusalem’s streets, resolute to live their lives without fear.


As always, we take the safety and security of our passengers extremely seriously and maintain vigilant contact with our trusted tour guides and security personnel on the ground in Jerusalem. And, on behalf of the people of Israel, we appreciate your continued prayers for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).




A Safe and Sunny Spring in Israel
February 2016

The arrival of spring in Israel means enjoying one of the most pleasant times of year to be in the region. For us, it means a busy schedule full of Israel tours! In the coming weeks, Inspiration will be leading groups with Calvary Albuquerque, California’s Kingsburg Community Church and larger groups led by Chuck Swindoll, David Jeremiah, Kay Arthur and Greg Laurie. Springtime temperatures reach the 80s and brilliant wildflowers begin to bloom across the countryside. Pilgrims always remark to us how surprised they are at the beauty of this country as they fellowship, worship and discover new things at these ancient biblical sites.

Our travel throughout the country remains as safe as ever. We are in constant communication with our trusted guides and colleagues regarding conditions in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and other significant destinations. Our friends at Israel’s Ministry of Tourism tell us that the spring 2016 wave of tourists are in the country as of this writing. All holy places and tourism sites are open, children are attending school, local residents are walking to work and business carries on as usual. In fact, all indications are that the rate of crime in Israel continues to be lower than that of the United States.

As your trusted travel provider, your safety continues to be our top priority. By taking meticulous precautions and monitoring all developments in the land through our on-the-ground network there, we keep our passengers safe at all times. And, as those who spend year after year leading Christian tourists through Israel, we can assure you that now is a wonderful time to visit Israel!



Christian travelers encounter Israelis enjoying an afternoon stroll in the Golan Heights.





Safety in Israel: Holiday Report December 8, 2015

Israel is a special place in December. Jewish families are observing Hanukkah; menorahs are lighting up windows throughout Jerusalem; Christmas lights are being hung in Bethlehem. Every day, Christian pilgrims from around the world arrive to visit sacred sites in Nazareth and in the City of David—places central to the Christmas story. In fact, Israel’s Ministry of Tourism has informed us that more than 100,000 tourists are enjoying themselves in the Holy Land at this time. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld has even booked three performances in Israel this month as part of his world tour!

Whenever news organizations offer their reports about instability in the region, our passengers ask us: Is it still safe to travel in Israel? Our informed and confident answer is a resounding YES. For tourists, Israel remains one of the safest countries in the world due to the country’s vigilance and enhanced security measures. Israel is serious about protecting its borders, its citizens and its guests. Likewise, as a trusted travel provider with over 30 years’ experience, there is nothing we take more seriously than your safety. We are constantly monitoring daily events in Israel. We stay in contact with our security experts, our trusted travel partners on the ground and the U.S. State Department. We value their reports more highly than those of the American news media.

We are assured, from every angle, that life in Israel continues as normal—and everyone is excited about the holiday season.

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas from the Holy Land!




Your Safety and Security in Israel October 15th, 2015

As travel experts with over 30 years of experience, we make the security and well-being of our passengers our highest priority—wherever we’re going in the world. Be assured that, from carefully-thought-through itineraries to state-of-the-art hotels, each of our Israel tours is designed with safety in mind. We receive an inside report on current events in Israel through continuous communication with our colleagues who live and work there. They continue to assure us, moment by moment, that the tours we now have in the land are running smoothly, and that the isolated incidents we’re hearing about on the news have not affected travel and tourism in any way. Though the U.S. Government suggests vigilance while traveling in the Middle East, they have not issued a travel restriction prohibiting people from going to Israel. In fact, at this time, all airlines are still flying to the country, Holy Sites and attractions are welcoming visitors and our team is looking forward to receiving more guests in the weeks and months ahead.

Over and over, our passengers return home safely from the Holy Land and share not only how secure they felt while on their journey, but the incredible sense of God’s presence they encountered every step of the way. We’re excited about what God has in store for our upcoming Israel tours, and look forward to the testimonies that will come pouring in. We encourage you to cover your trip in prayer, come with a sense of joyful expectation and keep praying for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).




Our Solidarity with Israel at This Time November 20th, 2014

The Inspiration Cruises & Tours team, along with our travel partners in Israel, are deeply saddened and outraged by Tuesday's attacks at a synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof. The murdered rabbis studying were peaceful men who were committed to their faith and devoted to their scriptures. We join the victims' families and the people of Jerusalem in grieving for these lives lost. While doing so, we want to reassure you that these occasional incidents—while horrific—do not influence the safety of our tours, nor the life-change encountered by the believers who travel with us. Please join us in praying for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).




Israel Tours Safely Running as Planned November 20th, 2014

One Israel tour supplier recently wrote about the safety in Israel. We feel their words are a perfect summary of the current situation:

With the recent appalling attack that took place in the Jerusalem synagogue we understand that you have growing concerns. While we do not want to make light of what happened, it is important to keep things in context; this horrible act took place in a residential area far away from any tourist attractions, and no tourist sites, hotels, or restaurants were in the neighborhood or nearby.

As this moment we have thousands of pilgrims, church groups, individuals and families visiting and enjoying all parts of Israel, including Jerusalem. We are in constant contact with our guides and groups to make sure that all is well, and we hear that they are having an amazing time and feel completely safe throughout the tour.




Kay Arthur and Anne Graham Lotz talk Israel Safety August 27th, 2014




Pastor Chris Swansen talks Safety in Israel August 19th, 2014

We recently accompanied a tour group to the Holy Land from Calvary Chapel in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania. Their trip took place July 27–August 9, just weeks after the escalation of conflict in the region between Israel and Gaza. Despite the tensions elsewhere in Israel, Calvary Chapel’s pastor Chris Swansen reported that his group saw “zero problems” as they toured Jerusalem and the Galilee region. The only difference, he said, was the reduction in tourism.

“Everything has been extremely secure,” he says in the video below, taken while he led a visit to the Garden Tomb. “If you’ve booked a trip—before you’re so hasty to cancel it—ask the Lord if He’s telling you to cancel it,” Pastor Chris says. “Because if He’s not, why not trust the Lord and let Him bring you to Israel?”

Watch the video here, and please continue to join us as we pray for peace.

Thanks!

 



Calvary Chapel Chest Springs Passenger-Balmer
Calvary Chapel Chest Springs Passenger-Sam Negron
Calvary Chapel Chest Springs Passenger-Ruth
Calvary Chapel Chest Springs Passenger-John, Sherri and familty



 

Sar-El Newsletter August 17th 2014

Dear Friends,

Shalom and greetings to you from Jerusalem.
I am very pleased to report that all of us here in Israel have enjoyed a full week of quiet and peace on our southern border. The negotiations are continuing in Cairo and we are expectant that reasonable decisions will be made. There is a lot of international pressure on Hamas to comply and normalize their relationship with both Israel and Egypt. As a result, life has returned very quickly to its pre-conflict routine. The beaches in Ashdod and Ashkelon were full this week end, people are very happily filling restaurants and hotels for their summer vacation. Since the summer started out with conflict, it seems that everyone wants to make up for their lost summer days by enjoying what remains of the summer vacation. We are also very happy to welcome in all of the summer visitors from France and other countries who fill our seaside and Tiberias hotels every year.

Most important we are glad that the conflict is now over so that all of you who are planning to join us in the coming months will have the confidence to continue with your travel plans. I am glad to be able to continue to report that we have, and continue to have a steady stream of Christian tour groups all summer long. This week we are expecting more visitors to Israel from Asia, Africa and the United States. We are grateful for each and every visitor to Israel this summer and to all of you who are planning to be with us in the coming months.

With best regards,
Samuel Smadja


Local Jerusalemites enjoying the refreshing fountains near the Old City this weekend



 

President Steve Dick In Israel August 4th, 2014

Despite the current conflict, people of all backgrounds still intermingle every day in Jerusalem. Inspiration Cruises and Tours president, Steve Dick, filmed these video reports earlier this week to show the contrast between what you hear on the news and what’s actually occurring in sites we visit when in Israel.

 

8/4/14 Western Wall - Jerusalem
8/4/14 Western Wall - Safety in Israel
8/5/14 Gai Beach Hotel - Tiberias

 


 

Inspiration Israel Tours to Proceed as Planned July 25th, 2014

As of Thursday, July 24, we are continuing with all scheduled tours to Israel as planned. The United States has lifted its flight restrictions to and from Tel Aviv, after both Secretary of State, John Kerry, and former New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, flew into Israel yesterday to protest the previous FAA flight ban.

Our tour suppliers in Israel have confirmed that Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv is open and functioning as normal for domestic and international flights. As a precautionary option, the Israeli government has opened the Uvda airport near Eilat to facilitate arrivals from any international airlines that remain concerned about Tel Aviv.

According to Haim Gutin, Israel's tourism commissioner, “tourism is continuing, and hotels, restaurants, tourist sites and holy places are open as usual” to the 75,000 tourists currently in the country. “Their travel arrangements are proceeding as planned,” Gutin said.

Our ministry partner, Dr. Charles Stanley, is leading a tour to Israel with us in early September. He has communicated the following to those joining him: “After a great deal of prayer, research, and wise counsel, I am glad to report that I have peace about our upcoming trip and have come to the conclusion that it should proceed as planned. This is because, for the most part, life in Israel continues as usual—especially in the areas we are intending to see. We won’t be in places that are vulnerable to attack, but sites that are far from fighting and have proven to be safe for the thousands of tourists that visit them each day.”

We look forward to our upcoming tours to Israel, and are grateful for your patience as we have been assessing the situation. Please continue to pray for peace throughout the region and a swift resolution to the current conflict.