Israel – the country which delights and frightens me in the same moment.
With a half of the year in advance, I bought the flight tickets to Israel for the 15th December 2017. I knew that Israel is under threat of a war or terroristic attacks, about Palestinian-Israeli conflicts, about rocket attacks and about The Gaza Strip and the terroristic organization named Hamas which control this territory. So why I decided to visit Israel?
How safe is Israel?
When I bought flight tickets to Israel I felt a little worried, but at the same time, I was very excited. I started to read many articles about the security in Israel and being sincere, I found a lot of information about people who felt very safe during their journey to Israel. They wrote about soldiers and policemen who patrolled a neighborhood numerously. The interesting fact is that Israeli men and women older than 18 years old have a compulsory military service. Men serve 3 years whereas women 2 years. When I was reading more and more I found information that The Israel Defense Forces are considered one of the best and effective in the whole world. All this information rendered that I felt less concerned.
Time goes by..
..and suddenly, the 14th July 2017 two policemen were killed at The Temple Mount attacked by Palestinians. Consequently, Israeli power decided to install metal detectors in this place. This tense situation caused the riots in which more than 100 Palestinians suffered as a result of the confrontation with Israeli policemen.
Everyone should know that The Temple Mount is the most important religious place in the world. It’s the holy site for three religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In antiquity, there was situated The Temple in Jerusalem – the most sacred object for the Judaism. Currently, there are located three monumental structures: the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Dome of the Chain.
Why we were thinking about the resignation of our trip?
During next few months nothing more except for that July riots happened.. until 6th December 2017 when President of United States of America, Donald Tramp, stated that Jerusalem is a new capital of Israel and he wants to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. Jerusalem officially isn’t the capital of Israel. Israelis, as well as Palestinians, claim Jerusalem as their capital. It’s a long-time issue of Palestinian-Israeli conflicts. Many countries criticized his decision. The leader of Hamas organization encouraged to the new uprising against Israel.
Unfortunately, the situation in Israel became very tense. Within 3 days after Donald Tramp’s announcement died 2 Palestinians and more than 200 people suffered an injury. The proclamation of the USA President caused new riots and confrontations with The Israel Defense Forces which took place in Jerusalem, The Gaza Strip, and The West Bank. Thousands of people protested against his decision. They were burning tires, an effigy of Donald Tramp, they were throwing stones towards policemen. Additionally, Israeli Air Force bombarded a training camp and arms dump in The Gaza Strip in response to the earlier launching of the rockets toward Israel organized by Hamas.
For good measure, exactly one week before our trip Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland advised against a travel to Israel. Then what to do? I thought about resign of the journey and waited for a situation development simultaneously. I read a lot of articles which described the current situation in Israel. On the Facebook website, I found the group of people who had the same doubts. I wrote messages to people who were there during this tense situation. I had doubts and I was afraid.
Fortunately, during next few days nothing bad happened so we packed our rucksacks and we decided to visit Israel.
What else was important for us before our trip to Israel?
Worth see places
Except for the safety issues, it was important to choose places which we want to see. We had only 4 days to visit Israel and before our journey, I knew that is too short definitely. I searched for all must-see attractions and I read a lot of articles about them. During a short trip, it’s important to plan every detail if you want to visit many of worth see places. Of course, you can’t predict everything, like lines at checkout counters, that some of the attractions are closed, or riots in Israel, but if you don’t have a plan, you will straying and you will waste a lot of time. I always check where are located places which I want to see, what time they are open, which way we can get to them. But sometimes it happened that we were wandering without a purpose enjoying the atmosphere its place.
I planned to visit Jerusalem and Bethlehem, see a sunrise from the top of Masada, bathe in the Dead Sea and before our back flight to home wander through streets of Tel Aviv. I will describe all of this places in another article.
Very important issue for me is also a public transport or a possibility to rent a car. Israel has well-developed bus network. The only problem is that during The Sabbath (from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset) the public communication don’t function. You have to pick Muslim taxis or buy an organized trip. If you are going to visit some less popular touristic places, the best option for you is rent a car. We decided not to hire a car, because it was too expensive for us.
More about traveling along Israel will be in the next article.
Before our trip, I also wondered about an appropriate outfit. Israel is the most sacred place in the world so it’s important to fit our clothes to the customs and the traditions of their citizens to not slight them. Especially its concern women because inappropriately dressed woman can be spitted. In holy places, according to general rules, men should wear long trousers whereas women should wear a knee-length skirt or a dress, or trousers. In some cases, women have to cover their shoulders and men have to put on a skullcap.
Now, when you know how to prepare for Israel trip, pack your clothes and enjoy your journey.
More about our trip to Israel you can find in another article. See you soon!
Have you ever been to Israel? What was the most important for you before your journey? Please share your opinion with us!