6 Things to Know
Are you thinking about going on the Holy Land Pilgrimage, but are concerned about your safety? Not to worry. Here are six questions commonly asked by people preparing for their journey to the Holy Land:
1. Is It Safe to visit the Holy Land at the moment?
Yes, it is. More than 3.5 million visitors came to Israel in the last year, including almost 2.5 million that came to the West Bank. If it was not safe to come, WAM and it's international contacts would not be sending a team to the Holy Land!
2. Are there any regions that are not safe to visit?
At this point in time, the only region where it is not possible to travel to on pilgrimage is the Gaza Strip, 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, out of reach on any WAM Tours that are currently planned.
3. Isn't is dangerous to visit Jerusalem and the West Bank?
The West Bank 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. East Jerusalem, which includes the Christian, Muslim and Jewish places of worship and pilgrimages, has an undetermined status but is under the control of the state of Israel. Since 2002, tourism to both Jerusalem and the West Bank, where the cities of Bethlehem, Beit Sahour and Jericho are located, has steadily climbed every year. Both Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as Israel itself, is very safe for tourists to visit.
4. Is security at the Israeli airport in Tel Aviv strict?
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. While some individuals may be questioned as to their purpose of visiting the Holy Land, and may be asked some questions about their stay, there is absolutely no cause for concern; these are just routine questions that are asked, often at random. As with most international flights, the security procedure at the airport may be tedious, but it is a manageable experience.
5. Is there anything I should bring or not bring to the Holy Land concerning safety?
Pack your bags as you would for any international flight. There is no need for any additional safety or security precautions.
6. While I am in the Holy Land, are there any considerations I should have concerning safety?
Our professional guide will instruct us on specific safety concerns while in the Holy Land; in particular when and where to carry your passport and places to be more aware of your personal belongings than others. In general, exercising good common sense is the only real advice you will need.