Security Issues in Israel – Safe to Go with Steve?

by Steve Ray on December 8, 2017

UPDATE 12/11/17: Watching the mainstream media today and making a few observations. 1) The images they keep showing are not current events but are pulled from stock video footage from the past. I doubt that any of the images of rockthrowing and tear gas is current video. 2) They are making this violence, which is very small at this point, look like it’s all taking place in Jerusalem which is not the case.

If there are these kind of confrontations they are happening inside the West Bank and Gaza, not in Israel. There is NOTHING happening in northern Israel and the Galilee area and whatever’s happening in Jerusalem is small and minor.

And, a simple question: why does a minor dustup in Israel make headline news for days whereas in Chicago alone over 600 people have been killed by violence this year and we never hear a word about it?

ORIGINAL POST: This morning we hear about a bomb that was blown up in New York City. Having been in Jerusalem over 150 times and in New York a good number of times as well, I can say I feel safer in Jerusalem then I do in New York. I was asked about the safety of Israel for our upcoming trips in December and January. Here is my response to the priest:

No problems for our pilgrimages. I am taking 106 people in two weeks. The news seems more hype than reality. I expect it to blow over and you won’t even remember it a month from now.

Your folks in January have the nice convenience of watching the daily videos of our trip going over Christmas break. They can see for themselves how safe and secure it is.

My major fear and concern in Israel right now are the crowds of tourists and pilgrims that are cramming into the holy sites!

One day we were there in October they calculated over 150,000 tourists in Jerusalem alone. Bus parking lots which usually hold many buses quite well now have buses double parked and overflowing into the streets, enough to block traffic — we’ve never seen it like this before.

On our last two trips we were not even able to get down to the birthplace of Christ to touch the 14-pointed star marking his birthplace because the lines were four hours long.

Today (12/8/17) was supposedly going to be the “Day of Rage“ but what happened? Basically nothing. All the 100,000+ Muslims went to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem today without incident. If there was going to be a problem, that’s where it would have been.

I have been watching the news — not on American media but the Jerusalem Post and other local Israel news. It looks like the few groups that are protesting are small. Gaza, which is far away from anywhere we going is trying to be heard but not much.

Seems to me the same old, same old — a lot of American news-hype especially because the US media are continually trying to make Trump look bad. I’ve learned to pay very little attention to them and go to the source which includes Israeli news and my friends over there.

Write me personally anytime to discuss this if you’d like. My email is Also feel free to give me your phone number so we can talk if you’d like. Let other pilgrims know we are moving ahead with confidence.

From all of my experience of 20+ years I am not nervous at all and my trips are full steam ahead.

One Comment

  • Donna R Frentrup says:

    My husband and I have traveked to the Holy Land with Steve Ray previously. I an attest to his commitment to the level of safety for all pilgrims on his tours. His local tour guides were always checking before we departed to any city or local to see what the locals had to say about the area. On one occasion, we ended up taking a different route into the town and were still able to see the site without any problem. I feel safer with Steve Ray in the Holy Land than I do traveling the freeways at home! As we were also told, tourism is a big business for Israel, and the police and locals also watch out for our safety.

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