Are we Pilgrims safe?
The safety of our pilgrims is our #1 priority
We have a comprehensive process to ensure your safety starting at the trip planning phase, continuing all the way until your flight arrives back in the USA. We are in constant contact with local agencies at your destination, as well as keeping up to date with US Dept. of State bulletins. Our Crisis Management Plans are continually updated and reviewed to make sure we know what to do if something happens while you are on your trip, from losing your passport, to large scale terrorism incidents, you are in good hands.
Safety in Israel
Israel remains a very popular tourist destination, with over 3 million visitors to the country in 2014 alone, almost one-fifth of whom came from the United States. In fact, 2015 is looking to be the best year ever for American tourism to Israel, with some 700,000 visitors traveling and returning home safely, according to the Government of Israel, Ministry of Tourism. Each year, more Americans vacation in Israel than in Thailand, New Zealand, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, Greece, Portugal, South Africa, Morocco and India.
A letter from one of our directors to a group leader on safety in Israel:
“Regarding Israel, I have been there several times in the recent past, and our sister organization in Poland has about 40 groups there every year. I don’t pay much attention to US news regarding the Holy Land as its mostly hyper dramatized and not accurate. Yes bad stuff happens, but not where we are going. They strive on peace and tourism; something like 60% of their economy depends on tourism, so all sides want it to be peaceful in the Holy Land, where we travel. This being said, we constantly monitor activities there through our connections in Israel, as well as the US Department of State. If the Dept. of State issues a travel warning telling US Citizens not to travel to Israel, we will not go. If this is the case, airlines will refund our funds and hotels etc. follow suit. We then refund our registrants. This has never happened yet for us, but you never know what will come. In my experience, I have never felt unsafe in Israel. Just like there are places in Phoenix you should not go to alone, or at night, or LA, or New York, those places exist worldwide including Israel. We don’t go to places like that and we monitor what is happening before, and during the trip to ensure our pilgrims’ safety and security. If an issue arises, we will work with the embassy and state department. We make sure we stay current just in case. We do not travel to/near the Gaza Strip, or Golan Heights.”
From our local contacts in Israel:
“The Holy Land is considered a tourist friendly country that receives over 3 million tourists from different parts of the world every year. One out of five tourists to Israel is American. A very high sense of security for travelers and pilgrims is maintained by both Israel and Palestinian police, which creates a very comfortable atmosphere everywhere in the Holy Land. Both local authorities and the people who make this their home, appreciate the contribution of tourism to the local economy, which has been a major industry for both Palestinians and Israelis. Both sides are doing their best to welcome pilgrims and tourists and show them the famous Middle Eastern hospitality. We are aware that safety is a major concern for many travelers who are considering a visit to the Holy Land, but the facts speak for themselves. In the last 15 years there is not a single Christian Pilgrim from the USA or from any other country that has been
killed in a direct attack in either Israel or Palestine. Your chances of being killed by a terrorist are about 1 in 20 million! There are no reports to suggest that a tourist has ever been attacked in relation to politics or conflict or faced any type of hostilities. I would say it is completely safe to travel to Israel and Palestine. Although no one can totally guarantee safety, the safety issue on a journey to the Holy Land is similar to that of a trip to New York City or any other place around the world! Some calculations suggest that the crime rate in Israel and Palestine is much lower than the typical city in the USA. In addition, all of the guides and tourism service providers know how to identify any change in the atmosphere and are instructed to put the safety of their guests on the top list of their priorities. Despite what is heard in the media, The Holy Land is generally a safe place to visit and tourists do feel secure while moving and visiting everywhere in Israel and Palestine. We are now aiming to maintain the number of tourists that are visiting the Holy Land, while increasing the numbers and making tourism a sustainable industry, and by providing a unique spiritual experience for people from around the world. Recently, with all the ugly images of the terrorists of ISIS and others that spread on the Net, people are becoming more concerned about their traveling into the Middle East, but I would like to emphasis that Israel, Palestine, Jordan and many other countries in the Middle East are ISIS FREE, and there are no reports that suggest that there is any presence of any of those terrorist groups in our land. The Holy Land is still a very safe, beautiful and an outstanding destination that you are all invited to consider, so do not hesitate, just call your travel agent and find out about the unforgettable, spiritual pilgrimage into the Holy Land.”