Subject: Re: security for tourists in Israel
Hi Carol,

Actually, the main problem for a tourist in Israel is not the terror. The heat of the summer is the problem! So, if you plan a lot of hiking - never come here in summer. The best times are late autumn and early spring. In the early spring you will see blooming deserts, singing waterfalls, crying Upper Jordan and snowy Hermon on Golan Heights.

As about the terror, as Debby said it's much lower problem for a tourist than others. Though I still wouldn't recommend to hitch cars, to travel at the West Banks and inside the cities try to use buses less. Personally, in my trips I prefer to walk inside the cities on my own - without bus, metro, etc. The international bus connection is safe, because the buses are checked at main bus stations. In a short time we must also receive a new system which must protect the urban buses as well. But again, statistically, you have more chance to be robbed or killed in Paris than in Israel. Because the level of crime is still very low. So the terror, especially at last time, is not a such that can destroy the statistics.

When you go to a dinner, just check if the there is a guard at the entrance - today 90% of these places have such a personnel.

Most of the tourist sites are well guarded and almost no tourists were killed (though any person killed is a treasure). As a fact, tourism comes back now to Israel (I work in the Central Bureau of Statistics, so I know).

As I know today you can visit even Bet-Lehem and the Temple mount. The only place which is very unsafe now - Sderot. It's situated a few kilometers from Gaza strip (which we plan hopefully to leave). And daily a few missiles fall there. A day ago 3 y/o child, Afik, was killed when was followed by his mother to the kindergarten.

If you go to Israel, than try to organize the trip to Jordanian Petra - real must and totally safe. It's possible with some guided tour even from Israel - one day tour.

I'll be glad to answer more to your questions.

Again, sorry for a delay, Sincerely, Alex Elbert Jerusalem Israel