At the Mediterranean coast in Tel Aviv
I'm posting this on my blog so those on our June trip to Israel can easily access it and pass it on to family or friends who are thinking about the trip as well.
Suzanne and I are being very careful not to come across as trying to persuade anyone with concerns about going to Israel to go ahead and go to Israel. That might be a run-on sentence (sorry Jan) but I hope you get my point... We are in a bit of a bind to know exactly what to share, or what not to share. If you are not comfortable with going to Israel we suggest you keep praying, talking with others, reading balanced sources and listening to The Lord. Suaznne and I are 100% good to go with our two teenagers, three other teens, other family members and Christian family too. Yet we acknowledge that our comfort level in no way equals yours.
Bottom line is there is always tension in the Middle East. There was when we went two years ago. The current tension is not directed at Israel, and is not inside Israel. The current and world changing unrest is among the Arab nations. There is an Arab revolution beginning, and while we have no idea where it will go eventually we can say that the signs so far show little or no animosity toward Israel or the U.S. but a growing spirit of democracy and (hopefully, prayerfully) justice in these Arab nations. That would be great for Israel, the U.S. and the free world in general.
A dear friend is taking 16 people to Israel in 2 weeks. She has taken 18 groups in the past 20 years, including the years of the Intifada when suicide bombers were getting into Tel Aviv and even Jerusalem. I asked her if she has concerns and here is her response (when she speaks of the location of her hotel in Jerusalem it is the same with ours as ours is right across the street from hers).
No, I've told them that 1.) every time I've gone in 18 years, something was about to break loose and 2.) I have sent all their names, addresses and our itinerary to the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and the U.S. Consulate in New York. This way if anything would break out, they'd know where we are. I also tell them the American Consulate is a half block from our hotel.
One last thing... I had a good talk with our agent from America Israel Travel about all this just yesterday. He says Israelis coming to America should be more concerned than Americans going to Israel, especially if they are coming near the Texas or Arizona border with Mexico! He has three American church groups going to Israel in the next week. I will interview their Pastors as soon as possible and share those interviews at our April meeting.