A U.S. airstrike in Iraq has complicated my plans to take my family to Israel tomorrow. Still, I don’t plan on suspending my trip.
Yesterday, Iranian General Qasem Soleimani was blown up via a U.S. airstrike while leaving Baghdad International Airport. The assassination of a top Iranian political leader has escalated tensions in the region and put Israel on alert as Iran has promised retaliation.
Many readers recommended I hold off on taking my family to Israel. While such suggestions are well-intentioned, I will nevertheless proceed as planned.
Israel has always been a political hot spot. Throughout its history, it has weathered war and conflict from inside its borders and out.
Walking through the streets of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv is certainly more risk—statistically—than walking through the streets of Zurich or Munich. But if I really want to minimize risk, I should not rent a car and instead take a bus or train within Israel. Driving remains inherently more dangerous than the remote threat of being in the wrong place at the wrong time in the case of political unrest or a stealth attack from Iran or Hezbollah or Hamas.
Without unnecessarily risking my family, I will not live in fear. As I explained in my earlier post, this trip is essentially now or never, at least in 2020. So I will take the trip now and I know my wife, son, and I will have a magical week.
Is there more risk in going to Israel than staying in Germany? Sure. But life is simply not worth being afraid of what might occur when there are so many more dangerous risks inherent in daily life.
You’re so brave. Enjoy your caviar in F!
Like I said in my comments to the other post, everyone has their own thresholds for risk, and I wouldn’t condemn you for going.
That said, the comment “life is simply not worth being afraid of what might occur when there are so many more dangerous risks inherent in daily life” isn’t similarly respectful of people with different risk tolerances, and sort of misses the point. By going to Israel, you’re not replacing the more dangerous risks, you’re adding new risks to the stack.
I really hope you enjoy the trip, and that nothing goes wrong. That said, I’d suggest that you follow the recommendations of the US government and do things like register with the US Embassy.
Hi Greg, I appreciate your comments and I respect your desire (or anyone else’s) not to travel to Israel or anywhere deemed unsafe. I would never force a trip on anyone. Let me clarify the situation in this way. If we didn’t go to Israel, we were going to spend the week driving around Germany and Poland (or return to California and drive around LA). I’d say that is riskier than walking around Jerusalem.
I have been reading about this a lot. Most articles i have read say that the guy deserved to be killed but most sane leaders before trump decided not to take the shot because they didn’t want to take a giant leap in the unknown. Trump on the other doesn’t give a sh%^t if its not his skin or ivanka’s ass on the line. Besides, this is a great distraction. Impeachment news is not front page anymore. We will pay for his impulsiveness and narcissism, even though the decision may turn out to be right in hindsight, albeit very risky.
I want the Democrats to take such risky and impulsive action when they become the president
1) remove tax exemption of all religions places. Just like Islamist jihadists are bred in right wing religious maddrassas, Christan jihadi terrorists are bred in churches here. Why are we subsiding church white Christian terrorists.
2) make owning an unregistered gun illegal and designate anyone with such a gun dangerous criminal, with cops given standing authority to shoot and kill such people (read Republicans)
Stop being measured and mature. Be impulsive and immature. Put the burden of your actions on right wing terrorist Republican idiots and their generals in Congress.
To be frank if the Iranians instead of shouting death to america shouted death to republicans they might actually get a lot of Americans to join them because that doesn’t sound that bad.
Seek treatment for your TDS
Move to Iran. We won’t miss you.
Move to Yemen. But even they might not want you.
I Love you Debit. I hope Matthew doesn’t ban you like Lucky did.
Read up on how many Americans were killed on new year’s eve by gunfire. Israel is probably safer.
People have bias towards their home country as being more safe even if it’s not fully justified. I think it’s the same biaz that makes people racist, cliquish etc.
Go. Just don’t be a hero there.
Mazel tov! Enjoy the trip. You’ll be fine.
What’s your itinerary? Will be there for about 4-5 days in July. Want to do Jerusalem and Eilat/Red Sea, scuba, not sure if that’s too much.
I tend to agree with you. While I would certainly exercise caution, keep my eyes on the news, and always have a back up plan on moment’s notice, I would also still go. And, as I pointed out, many times choosing to go to these places, at what seems uncertain times, turn in to the best trips with smaller crowds.
I mean, I spend half the year in Brazil and if you followed the State Department warnings you would wonder if you should ever go outside.
Of course, the irony in all of this, is that the one time in my life I was in “danger” was being mugged at knifepoint in a train station in, of all places, Switzerland. Go figure. Sometimes the worst happens when you let your guard down in what you perceive to be “safe places.”
I agree. I have only been mugged in NY, Madrid and downtown Santiago. With that said Brazil is a problem with the epidemic of extortionist/theft robbing radar contraptions cameras especially SP and Haddad. This is a danger to anyone’s mental health. The president attempted to do something about it but he was shot back by an impervious judge. Horrid.
Agreed, though my apartment is in Santo Andre and it’s not bad around there with the cameras. Actually, the worst is around Fortaleza and the whole NE. I fly up there and rent a car and it seems no matter what I get hit on my CC with $200 in fines every freakin time.
Walk the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. You will see traffic, full cafes, restaurants, hotels, etc.
Go and Enjoy the trip – It’s safer walking the streets in Tel Aviv than it is here in Manchester, New Hampshire – I’ve been to Israel many times and not once have a felt unsafe in any way – Except for when I drove into the Palestinian Territories – If you do rent a car and use Waze, you can set Waze to not allow you to drive into the Palestinian Danger areas. I wish It had that option years back.
I was in Israel during Desert Storm and it was perfectly safe – Israel is a safe country -The Iranian threat has always been there… Enjoy yourselves, but like any big city, be vigilant and on-guard.
@Matthew As someone who lives in Israel, I can assure anyone that visiting Israel right now poses no major threat and that the threat of terrorism is very. I hope you and your family have a great week in Israel. by the way, if you are looking for recommended places to eat in, I will suggest: M25 restaurant in the Carmel market in Tel Aviv and Ali Karavan Humus in jaffa
Driving is perfectly safe in Israel EXCEPT for the same extortionist/theft robbing radar cameras that are in almost every country these days.
The only exception is that insurance technically does not permit one to drive on highway 1 and highway 90 in Area C of the west bank, although almost everyone drives to the dead sea that way.
If you do decide to go to Bethlehem and have evidence of it expect some extra questions at the airport and no driving as that is area A.
End of discussion. Go , enjoy and be careful of those darned cameras! Bon Voyage!
Not to flog this dead horse any further, but while there are some countries where geopolitical tensions put them on my “X” list, Israel isn’t one of them. Stop thinking about it and go. Just keep an eye on the local news and avoid hot spots, and be prepared to change your plans on the fly if you have to avoid a particular area.
In a way it’s geopolitics interfering with your plans; a cynic might suggest it’s related to the fact that 2 of the truly creepy fruitcakes of the world are facing re-election ( not to mention one of them impeachment, the other jail for corruption). Fortunately it highly likely both will be kicked out: let’s hope that saner voices will be elected to replace them, and that there can be a stepping back from the maniacal brinkmanship.
Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are definitely safer than parts of many U.S. cities. It’s because black on black and black on white violence is the norm with blacks and non white latinos committing a disproportionately high amount of violence everywhere they are in the world. Israel is safer than parts of Paris, Rio, the Bronx, Chicago, Jamaica and South Africa.
You are much more likely though to be harassed at the airport by security and customs who put people who obviously aren’t the profile (middle aged white male with his family) through the wringer. It is easier to fly to Jordan which is even safer than Israel.
I wished the U.S. pulled out of the Middle East completely and focused on clamping down its borders and enforcing European borders so the Middle East problem can be contained in the Middle East and let them sort it out amongst themselves. Still, since that is not happening (look at All the Democrats and neocons freaking out about withdrawing American troops from Syria) I understand the decision. This General plotted and was plotting severe attacks on U.S. government installations in the Middle East. There is no reason for an Iranian General to be in Iraq. Iran attacked the Baghdad embassy a few days ago, the Saudi Arabia oil refinery last year and held a British ship hostage. Iran is not the victim it claims to be but an instigator.
Oh please! If you stay away from the “borders” with “Palestine” you have no problems.
Enjoy your trip. You and your family will be fine. To get around Tel Aviv, you can use Uber (which links you to a taxi) or the Gett app. You can also ride the public buses which seem to go everywhere you need to go. Note that the buses no longer accept cash (since one year ago). You need a card (like an Oyster card) that you can tap up at various places including Super Pharm (?) locations.
I am in the same dilemma, our trip is planned for this month and my wife and I do not plan to cancel it.
I have the same situation, I have tickets to Eilat with mum next weekend.
This is real dillema. Dont know what to do.
Same issue. Thinking to cancel it…
Just to have the right proportions.
The chance of being killed, robed or raped in New York is far higher than Israel.
Let’s distinguish numbers and news-porn