Here are some common questions about the safety of the Holy Land
Not to worry, we have your answers. We will be with you from the moment you land until we depart Tel Aviv. We will not take you anywhere that is unsafe, remember we will be with you. We have local guides and drivers at different parts of our pilgrimage. IS IT SAFE TO VISIT THE HOLY LAND? Yes, it is. Israel had more than 3.5 million visitors last year. More than half of these visitors, visited the West Bank (Bethlehem and Jericho). We here at Prayerful Path will be with you every step of the way, if it was not safe to go, Prayerful Path would not be taking pilgrims to the Holy Land!
ARE THERE ANY REGIONS THAT ARE NOT SAFE TO VISIT? Right now, the only region where it is not possible to travel to on a pilgrimage is the Gaza Strip. This is located on the southern coast of Israel adjacent to the Egyptian border. The security situation in Gaza remains volatile, but the violence is contained to this region of the Holy Land. This part of Israel is not near any of our pilgrimages here at Prayerful Path.
I HAVE HEARD BETHLEHEM AND JERUSALEM ARE DANGEROUS TO VISIT? Bethlehem and Jericho are in the part of the West Bank which is managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is something of a government-in-training that is supported by the United States, European Union and many other international agencies. The West Bank which we visit is not the unsafe portion, Jericho and Bethlehem are exempt from that list, per the State Department. We would never enter into the part which is unsafe. Bethlehem and Jericho are very safe for pilgrims to visit. East Jerusalem, which includes the Christian, Muslim and Jewish places of worship and pilgrimages is under the control of the state of Israel. Tourism has steadily climbed every year. Both Jerusalem and the West Bank(Bethlehem and Jericho), as well as Israel itself, is very safe for pilgrims to visit. We will have a local guide with us as well, as we visit the sites of Jerusalem and Bethlehem/Jericho.
IS IT SAFE TO WALK IN THE COUNTRYSIDE OF ISRAEL? As you walk the Jesus trail, you will be in the countryside of Israel. You will see parts of Israel that most pilgrims miss. You are very safe. We will be together as a group. As we walk into different cities along the trail, you will experience the everyday life of the people of Israel. You will see the kindness and the support they give to the pilgrims. (On all my travels, I have met so many people who are afraid to visit the USA, remember its fear, fear of the unknown) The most important thing is to exercise common sense, just like you do at home. Again, we will be with you every step of the way.
SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE SECURITY AT THE TEL AVIV AIRPORT? Security at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv is very thorough, but it is also some of the most professional. With tourism being one of the most important sources of income for Israel, the security forces are trained to process pilgrimage groups through as quickly and efficiently as possible. The questions they might ask upon your entry are nothing out of the ordinary. They are the common questions as to your purpose for visiting, and maybe the length of your stay. They are just the routine questions. As with most international flights, the security procedure at the airport may be tedious, but it is a manageable experience.
WHILE IN THE HOLY LAND, IS THERE ANYTHING I SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT FOR MY SAFETY? The most important thing is to exercise good common sense. We will give you information on a daily basis. In particular, when and where to carry your passport and places to be more aware of your personal belongings than others. We will also inform you of the dress codes for the different sites we will be entering. More info on this will be given at sign up.
Remember, the only one who can guarantee us anything is the Lord. As we travel, let us pray. "We humbly put our trust and confidence in Him and His protection over all who seek deeper relationship with His Son. Your pilgrimage is a prayerful journey of faith, and as such, I ask you to pray and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit if you’re having any reservations. “…perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18). I’m sure that in prayer, He’ll dispel fears and bring you peace if it’s His will that you make this journey." ~ Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in the USA
Saint James, pray for us that we may be willing to leave everything to follow Jesus as you did. Help us to become special friends of Jesus as you were. Amen
Ephesians 4:32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.