In one word – yes!
OK, if you regularly watch CNN or the BBC, you might be forgiven for thinking otherwise, especially when an Israel-related story hits the headlines. Undoubtedly, images of weapon-clad Israeli soldiers under a torrent of stones will have hit your screens at some point, and it may seem that Israel is at constant war with its neighbours. But seriously, Israel is safe.
One thing you have to consider is that the threats of terrorism and unrest in the territories can rear their ugly heads at any time. It’s something that the average Israeli has come to terms with, but for newbies to Israel it’s still a bit frightening whenever an incident occurs. However, it is extremely unlikely that you’ll ever experience an incident at first-hand, especially if you keep to the main tourist spots and follow advice on where/where not to travel.
So yes, lots of armed soldiers everywhere, including cute 18-20 year old girls with Uzis slung over their shoulders. This might be a little off-putting at first but you’ll soon get used to it. Security is obviously an important issue for Israel and all Israelis, so the number of soldiers and police about is actually kind of reassuring.
Even before stepping on a plane/boat for Israel you’ll have your first real introduction to Israeli security, with security personnel quizzing you at the airport or port of departure. However innocent you are, there’s something quite daunting about being quizzed repeatedly by these guys, especially when they step back a few metres and hold a hushed conversation with a fellow security officer while keeping their eyes locked on you.
As a result of all this security, Israel is safe to visit and travel in And that goes for women, single or otherwise. For sure, as in any country, keep your wits about you, but there’s not many a Western country where women, even alone, can walk around safely after midnight. Tel Aviv still astounds me, especially in the wee hours, when swarms of young women walk around relatively freely. Contrast that with Europe or America.
A couple of “common-sense” warnings, just to keep you aware:
- change your money in banks or change shops – changing money on the streets will more than likely leave you out of pocket. I had a good friend scammed out of hundreds of dollars this way, so be careful.
- drugs – dope is freely available and much loved by many Israelis but be careful, as, unlike Europe, there are some stiff penalties for possession/use.
So, summing it all up, your concerns regarding whether it’s safe to visit Israel and if you can stay safe in Israel can really be applied anywhere in the world and not just to the Holy Land. Be careful, use your noddle, and listen to the locals if you’re really concerned.
Don’t worry, you’ll have a safe and enjoyable trip to Israel!