Whenever I’m with first time tourists to Israel, especially those from the United States, they almost always comment how “different” the safety issues are here from what they expected to find. Most assumed they were entering an active war zone, which could not be further from the truth.
Statically, you are safer in an Israeli city than in a major US or European city – that comes as a shock for most people. In fact, Israel is one of the safest countries in the world! The perception that it isn’t, in my opinion, is that the major news media have extremely biased reporting when it comes to Israel.
One of the reasons Israel is so safe is because of the very strict measures Israeli security personnel carry out at entry points to the country. Sometimes tourists feel they are undergoing unnecessary security checks when they enter but that’s what make Israel safe – take it in stride, these people know what they’re doing.
Another reason Israel is very safe is because most public buildings and malls employ security guards at their entrances. Israelis don’t give a second thought about opening their handbags for guards to check or walking through a metal detector when entering a building and neither should tourists – it’s to protect you.
Many people ask me if it is safe to take public transportation in Israel. The answer is yes. I wouldn’t have said so back in 2000 when the second intifada was happening - but it’s over, history. Today no one hesitates to get on a bus or train in Israel.
The most shocking thing people see here, from a safety perspective, is how teenagers and adolescents are running about freely in our cities and on our beautiful beaches, having fun and enjoying themselves. I’m constantly being told that Israeli children have so much more freedom than their American counterparts.
Is there crime is Israel? Of course, but much less so than in most western countries. There is hardly any violent crime, especially against tourists. You do need to use common sense while traveling here, just like when you travel anywhere. Pickpocketing is rare, but gentlemen, keep your phones and wallets in your front pockets please, ladies too if you’re not using a handbag.
Will you see soldiers carrying guns in public? Yes, you will, and that should make you feel even more safe, not less. Sometimes you might even catch an off-duty soldier carrying a gun since they cannot leave the weapon unattended – it’s okay. So don’t worry, be happy and come for a visit to one of the most amazing countries in the world – Israel!