While I was sitting at the Dulles, DC Airport awaiting my flight home from another fantastic Israel (& Jordan) trip, I reflected upon the “safety” issue of traveling to Israel. In this group were 44 wonderful folks, all who experienced safe and normal conditions despite their family and friends’ concern about being “safe.” Several of my group expressed to me that many told them that “they were crazy to travel to Israel” because of the “unsafe” situation over in the Middle East. The concern by loved-ones is understandable since our perceptions are often shaped by what we only hear and see on TV and internet news. These 44 people went anyway, and they all were glad they did! As the same friends and family followed our daily experiences on the web site, they saw for themselves what a great and safe time we had! Praise God for a wonderful two weeks together!
Absolutely everywhere we went we had no issues of safety concerns. We were warmly greeted by Israelis and Palestinians alike. We went into Bethlehem (controlled by the Palestinian Authority) where we encountered only smiles and hospitality. We walked everywhere (Tel Aviv, Beersheba, and the streets of Jerusalem every night) with no apprehension or nervousness whatsoever. We even traveled near the Syrian border up north in the Golan Heights with no limitations or concerns. Simply, traveling in Israel is safe!
Yet it’s hard to convince people of this. As a tour leader, I literally become saddened for people who choose to postpone any consideration for travel to Israel based on an inaccurate and incomplete perception gained from TV news and other media outlets. I become saddened because I know what folks miss out on if they choose not to pursue travel to Israel, namely, a life-changing encounter with God and His land! On the other hand, what a blessing it is to all who follow God’s lead to Israel and trust confidently in His protecting and guiding hand. What a joy and privilege it is for all who sense God’s call and trust in His care and protection wherever they go and wherever they may be.
Despite what occurred the last two months between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, if I were to ask any single person who traveled with me on this last tour if they felt any unsafe circumstance or situation, no one would say they did. The perspective would be unanimous … everyone felt safe throughout the entire tour, from the south, to the north, in Jerusalem, and in Jordan.
Here is a testimony from the of one of our travelers: “Pastor John, my trip to Israel was extraordinary. I shall be telling stories for years to come. Although our itinerary took us within miles of the Gaza Strip, there was never a moment of trepidation. We were certainly aware of the Israeli military preparedness. It was impressive and added to our feeling of safety and comfort. At the opposite end of the country, the Golan Heights reminded once again that there was war in Syria. Surrounded by tourists and UN Peacekeepers, we listened with ease and rapt attention as our guide explained the history of the area. Should we have needed any other reassurance, we had God with us.” (Beverly, from MI)
Let me encourage you to consider a life-transforming trip to Israel! Don’t put it off because of the “safety factor.” A life-changing encounter with the God of the Bible awaits!
Rev. Dr. John DeLancey