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A time to visit
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A time to visit

My husband and I just returned from a fabulous vacation in Israel. We enjoyed seeing many wonderful and inspirational sights in Tel Aviv, Mt. Carmel, Rosh Pina, and, of course, Jerusalem. I must admit that in the weeks before we left on this long-planned trip, I was starting to feel nervous. After all, what do we constantly hear about in the news these days? Incidents of violent attacks in Israel. Sitting in my comfortable NJ home, it was easy to obsess about the chances that “something” would happen. Why take the risk?

Thankfully, my niece (who lives in Tel Aviv) and a friend of my husband (who has family in Jerusalem) reassured and encouraged us that everything would be fine and we decided to make the trip. I’m so glad we did!

I have to say that I felt perfectly safe in Israel. In fact, with all the security measures and IDF personnel, I was probably better protected than if I had been walking the streets of New York City. People had told me that “it’s different” when you’re actually in Israel and they were right. I didn’t have any fears or trepidation. My days in Israel were filled with seeing amazing places and people, eating delicious food, and feeling totally comfortable.

One night, while dining at Eucalyptus (an excellent restaurant in Jerusalem), the chef approached our table. He asked where we were from and how we were enjoying our trip. After I enthused about  what a fabulous time I was having, he encouraged me to spread the word, once I got home, saying that many Israeli businesses have been hard hit by a drop in tourism because of nervous travelers.

Is it perfectly safe in “disputed areas” of the West Bank? Did I feel like taking a stroll past angry demonstrators in east Jerusalem? Of course not. You travel in Israel with a plan and that certainly didn’t  include locations we were advised to avoid. But these are such a small part of the country. Most places in Israel are safe and wonderful to visit.

Consider a trip to Israel. It’s a truly amazing place to visit — right now.

Gail Sample
West Caldwell

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