How are Indian tourists treated in Israel

Is Traveling to Israel Safe or Dangerous?

Israel: Hardly any other travel destination I was expecting so much in advance! Nowadays I have become increasingly cautious about truths from the news and the corridor radio of social networks and that's why I decided for Israel (just like for my trip to Russia) to get an idea for myself. The reactions from my friends and family when I said I was going to Israel were terrifying: Hardly any other country evokes such a panic reaction in people's minds when it comes to safe travel as Israel does. As if it were the new North Korea ... First of all: I'm not a security expert, of course, and the situation in the Middle East can change almost daily now more than ever. For up-to-date security information on Israel, I recommend the website of the Foreign Office to you. But here, too, it should be said: If the curmudgeons in office have their way, then even the Vatican is probably a dangerous place: after all, warning is their job.

I asked myself a lot of questions and started to Israel with one or the other prejudice and after my trip I realized that a lot of it turned out to be unfounded. I would like to answer the most pressing questions that I have asked myself here:

Impulse response: yes! However, Israel is not Israel. I think it should be clear that there are areas in Israel in which a tourist should not necessarily be for safety reasons and for reasons of decency. In particular, you should avoid the border regions to Egypt and Syria and the Gaza Strip. You can visit the West Bank, on the other hand, if you should be prepared for the fact that you may be subject to a more detailed questionnaire when you leave the country. But that doesn't hurt.
Basically, I have had quite astonishing experiences in Israel and I have to honestly say: I have never felt safer in a country than in Israel. Not even in Germany. That may sound a bit strange to an outsider, but the security apparatus in Israel is working perfectly, the police are omnipresent and the population is relaxed, friendly and warm. A lot! You can also use public transport without hesitation. Security officers with body scanners stand in front of department stores, market halls and bus or train stations across the country, so you have to queue up here and there. In return, however, it gives you a special feeling of security.

How does the entry and exit in Israel work?

You don't need a visa for Israel, you can simply enter with your passport and stay in the country for up to three months. Entering Israel is notorious, but in practice it has turned out to be quite ordinary for us. My travel companion had a brand new passport with him, which is a precaution for border officials because it could be forged. So the poor man had to put up with half a dozen questions on arrival: "Why are you here? Where are you going to be? Do you know anyone in Israel? If so, how do you know each other?" And and and ... But there was nothing wild about it. Interestingly enough, when we left we were completely taken apart: our bags were completely emptied and checked for explosives, drugs and prohibited substances. They even unscrewed the lids from the camera's lenses to look inside and in the end we were both allowed to undergo separate interviews from border officials. The whole process took just under an hour, so bring enough time to the airport! By the way, there is no stamp in the passport, just an entry and exit card that you shouldn't lose!

How far can I get with English in Israel?

So-so. Tel Aviv, for example, is a very young and modern city and you can get by very well with English. Even in Jerusalem it still works halfway, but off the beaten track it can be a little difficult. Especially since the Hebrew characters unfortunately have nothing in common with ours, so you really can't be sure what you are currently ordering or what is on the next sign. But the good old "with-hands-and-feet" communication also works perfectly in Israel and a toilet sign is also a toilet sign everywhere, isn't it?

How sensitively do I have to treat the subject of "Israelis and Palestinians"?

That too depends on where you are and who you are talking to. In case of doubt, restraint is of course advisable: In many countries around the world, speaking out politically can backfire. We visited a friend in Tel Aviv who was about our age and extremely liberal. He was Israeli and his best friend was a Palestinian. Both of them actually made fun of the tense situation in the country rather than appeared sad, and in Tel Aviv itself there are absolutely no differences between these two population groups. They were rather amazed at the image we get in Germany through the media landscape. But as I said: If in doubt, do not comment.

Are there really that many soldiers in Israel?

Yes. There is hardly any Israeli (male or female) who has not served or is still serving in the military. Soldiers are proud of their profession and enjoy the highest recognition in the country. From a geopolitical perspective, Israelis understandably have strong desires for security. And that's how you see soldiers anywhere, anytime. Either on duty with a weapon or without a weapon but still in uniform. As I said: you're proud. This is a little disturbing at the beginning, but you get used to it very quickly and at the latest when you realize how relaxed these soldiers are, the queasy feeling disappears quickly.

How do I have to behave on site?

As they say? "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." And of course that also applies in Israel. You will quickly notice what a warm, open country Israel is. Above all, it is surprisingly westernized and you can behave as you should in Germany: Open, friendly and with the necessary respect. Israel is a melting pot of world religions and religion is omnipresent, but during my time there I never felt that I had to behave differently than at home.

Would you prefer to travel to Israel on your own or with a guide?

That's a good question. Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and the other larger cities in the country are very liberal, very well connected and well connected by very cheap bus connections. By the way, Israel is about the same size as Hesse. Surprised? I was too. The country is really tiny and you can travel extremely quickly thanks to the well-developed road and rail networks. So you can easily go out on your own. But if you want to go to the deserts or border regions, for example, I definitely recommend a guided tour. A local guide is always advisable!