When I advertise trips to Israel, one question surfaces more than any other. “Is it safe?”
A few years ago, I tried to laugh the question off and assure people that traveling to Israel was, indeed, a very safe trip for American tourists.
Then I was forced to rethink my answer.
After all, in order to get to Israel, most Americans have to travel first … through America. Have you seen the news lately? If I didn’t already live in the USA, I’m not sure I’d ever set foot on this land!
The reality? There’s not a safe place on the planet. For my wife and me, our favorite beach vacation is on an island in the heart of the Bahamas. Unfortunately, the Bahamas rank as the 11th most dangerous country in the world for “intentional homicides!” If you were wondering, it’s not the sharks that are killing people. Compared to people, the sharks are downright friendly.
My favorite place to visit is Israel.
However, the stats don’t lie. There is violence in Israel. In fact, an American tourist was killed in Israel early in 2016. This was a shocking event in every corner of Israel. Tourists are a protected commodity in Israel. This particular incident happened away from a well-identified tour group and was the result of a lone, crazed man wielding a knife. My heart hurt for his family when I heard the news.
When I force myself to consider all the violence around us, my heart hurts for all the families affected by murder and terrorism. To see the news footage out of Syria’s civil war brings almost incomprehensible feelings in all of us. Can we truly imagine the horror of more than 400,000 people dying in a war that is destroying an entire country?
No wonder the United Nations has just passed a resolution condemning Israel for building peaceful communities on its own land.
Wait a minute. That doesn’t make any sense at all.
Back to my point. If you’re waiting on a “safe” time to plan a trip to Israel, you’ll wait forever. If you’re waiting until it’s “safe” to visit your family in another part of your own country, you’ll never make the trip. And if you stay home? I’ve got bad news for you. More accidents happen at home than anywhere else!
It’s a dangerous world.
Even so, millions of us are willing to travel to the far corners of the globe, hungry to meet new friends, learn an amazing amount of information about new cultures, relive historic events and even discover new truths about ourselves.
For the person who loves the Bible, no place will illustrate the positives of international travel more than Israel. When people return from a trip to “the Holy Land,” they usually say they’ll never read the Bible the same way again. Without fail, they’ve got a new friend or two. And almost all of them laugh at the way they once feared for their safety on a trip to Israel.
You want to vacation in Chicago? Be sure your will is updated before you go.
You want to visit Israel? Go … and leave your fears at home.