I am so very excited about next November and our Digging Deep trip to Israel! This has been on our radar for quite some time and we are very thankful that it seems to be working out so that we can go with little or no post-pandemic difficulty. There are no vaccination requirements in place now and many testing requirements seem likely to be loosened as well by the time we go. I hope some of you diggers are thinking of going. We will be broadcasting a podcast live from a spot TBD in Israel. We will also be having women’s sessions all along the journey.
Most of you sisters who have committed are very determined to go and are less worried than your husbands about any potential political unrest. I’ve been surprised that it’s mostly the husbands who are concerned about the unrest in Ukraine and other parts of the world as they think about traveling. We will give them a pass and say that’s because they are our protectors.
I do want to share with you today this letter from our group director, John Moore. Written to Glenn, my husband, it’s very reassuring. I can’t say enough good things about the sharp mind and excellent communication skills of John Moore when it comes to dispensing information about the sites we will see and their Biblical significance. This tour is 100 times better than any tour you will take with those who are not members of the church. Our unified fellowship brings an incomparable joy to our travels. It will change your life to be at these sites with fellow-Christians and to worship our God there.
Here’s the letter from John:
Hi Glenn. We are very excited as well. Because of the pandemic its been two years since we were last there. Hope you and Cindy are well.
In regard to your question here are some thoughts:
Are there potential problems/risk? Yes, but that exists every where in the world. There are inherent dangers in sending your children to schools in the US – We’ve had mass shootings at our schools, churches, grocery stores, etc. but we keep on living and try to be vigilant both here in the US and abroad.
Literally millions of tourists go to Israel every year without incident. It is a major destination for tourists from all over the world.
I would not take my wife to some place that was prone to violence or danger. Does danger exist? Yes, but we have always been treated with respect, and felt safe and secure. I cannot guarantee that nothing will happen, but neither can I in our own country.
Israel maintains full diplomatic relations with two of its Arab neighbors, Egypt and Jordan, after signing peace treaties in 1979 and 1994 respectively. In 2020, Israel signed agreements establishing diplomatic relations with four Arab League countries, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco.
Tension does at times exist between Jews and Arabs but I know of no threats about individuals targeting US citizens in Israel.
We are aware that news coverage about the Middle East is sometimes portrayed as a dangerous and unsafe place to live or visit. Such news coverage seldom matches the scene that is witnessed on a daily basis in Israel. Israel is a modern country and highly advanced with excellent security. Nevertheless, we are aware as in our own country for the potential of areas that are prone to violence or crime. Thus we actively pay attention to the political situation and will rearrange field studies so as to avoid any potentially hazardous area. It is true that the US Embassy frequently issues advisories for US citizens to avoid the public places and bus stops. However, these advisories are typically issued for legal liability reasons as much as, if not more than, for safety reasons. The embassy takes a most cautious stance in order to protect itself from legal action, so that its advisories frequently have little bearing on the true safety of travelers.
Almost everyone who returns from our trips remarks, “I never once felt unsafe.” Each time we have traveled within Israel, including the two months Carla and I lived there during the summer of 2017, we have been very impressed with the level of security and safety. We’ve traveled with groups before during a time when the United States had issued a travel warning, and we witnessed no issues whatsoever. Tourism is a huge industry in Israel for all Israeli citizens (both Arab and Jew) and for both Palestinians and Jews living in the West Bank and as a result we have always been treated with kindness and respect.
We are highly confident in the Israeli government’s stance on security and concern for its citizens and visitors. If any protests or incidents happen to arise within the country, our guide will be alerted. Just as in the United States, of course we could not say we would never encounter some sort of incident, but I can say that we have the utmost confidence in the company organizing all of the logistics for the tour. Lindy Lazarow, who arranges our transportation, lodging, and guides, has been organizing tours in Israel for over 30 years. Safety and health has always been top priority with her, as with us. Our Israeli guides and bus drivers are knowledgeable and experienced group leaders, and are fully aware each day of any possible issues or concerns.
Hope this helps.