Is Israel Safe?

"Safety" is a subject that often comes up when foreign visitors mention Israel. A common perception, fuelled by media melodrama, is that Israel is a country always in turmoil.

But that is a misperception. Israel has learned over the past 60 years how to maintain security in a respectful, intelligent, and effective manner, and life continues on its normal course.

In Israel, people go to work, go shopping and walk around; they have dinner, drive their cars, go to the beach, and go for lunch, just like you do at home. But unlike at home, before her unfortunate passing, Jeff's 90 year-old mother could walk alone in any of Israel's cities at any time without danger.

In reality, vistors are probably safer in Israel than in their home countries.

"I felt safer with my wife and children in Israel in August 2006 [towards the end of the 2006 Lebanese war] than I do in New York or Toronto. In those cities, you do not have the feeling that people are constantly watching over your safety. In Israel, you do have that feeling. What is more, security is maintained in a much more respectful manner than at home."
Michael Willems, Toronto

Israel viewed through the prism of the media alone, provides a misleading perspective. The risk to you of death in a traffic accident in the USA is about eight times higher than the risk to you of terrorism-related death in Israel. Does the miniscule risk of a traffic accident stop you from getting in your car? Of course not.

Virtually every visitor asks, "Where is this violence we see all the time on TV?" And the answer - only partly tongue-in-cheek - is "It's on TV." Which is not to say that there is no conflict; it is to say, that unless he or she goes looking for it, the visitor will not encounter violence in Israel.

"During my visits to Israel in 2006 and in 2007 I never felt unsafe. The security presence is pervasive, but more courteous and oddly feels less intrusive than in the States, becoming a reassuring background. The international media isn't there to report on the friendly, relaxed, vibrant Israel you will experience as a tourist or traveling on business - but that's the real news: Israel is a wonderful place to visit."
Pam Willson, PhD., Scottsdale, Arizona