Israel sits at the heart of the cradle of civilisation, making it a fantastic holiday destination but is it safe to visit? That’s the question I’m going to explore on the Htet Tayza blog this week.
Explore the cradle of civilisation
I believe that travel broadens the mind. That’s why I think that everyone should carve some time out of their busy schedules to make the trip over to Israel.
No country has a history like Israel’s. Sitting in the heart of the region that was once known as the cradle of civilisation, Israel is the birthplace of two of the Abrahamic religions; Judaism and Christianity. It also holds great significance for followers of the third Abrahamic religion; Islam.
This means that Israel is a treasure trove of historical, religious and cultural sites just waiting for you to find. Jerusalem alone attracts numerous tourists every year. Israel’s capital is the home of famous tourist attractions such as the Western Wall, the only remains of the mythical Jewish Temple, the Dome of the Rock, the Mosque built on the site where according to Quranic scripture, Mohammed ascended up to heaven, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; the supposed site of Christ’s crucifixion.
Therefore there are multiple benefits to gain when you travel to the Holy Land, yet there’s one drawback. The country has been the site of contention for years.
The modern state of Israel was founded on May 14th, 1948. Israel was previously a British protectorate, however before it fell into the hands of the largest empire in the world it was an Ottoman territory. It has a large Muslim population. The years since statehood have seen the country become embroiled in conflict.
What does the Israel Ministry of Tourism say?
This begs the question, is it safe to go there? According to the Israel Ministry of Tourism, yes, although tourists from certain countries may need a visa to do so. Click here to see if you would need a visa to travel to Israel. On its website the Ministry says:
‘Israel is an extremely safe country to visit and tour. In 2012, close to four million tourists came to Israel, an all-time record, and all of them went back home again safe and sound. We would not encourage tourists to come if we felt they would be in the slightest danger.’
Is it safe to visit the Palestinian territories?
Israel is one thing, but the Palestinian territories are another. All of the famous tourist sites I mentioned above lie in Palestinian land (technically) as does the Church of the Nativity, the basilica in Bethlehem that marks the believed birthplace of Christ, and many others.
However the region’s current troubles are a point of concern. Is it safe to visit the Palestinian territories? The Ministry says: ‘it’s wise to check on the political situation before entering the Palestinian Authority.’ They also advise you to take your passport, as you’ll need it to make the crossing.
Yes, in theory it’s safe to travel to Israel and even to make the crossing into Palestinian territory but I’d be careful if I were you. Check the political situation before you go so you can be sure you’ll be safe when you visit Israel.