We have a pilgrimage planned to the Holy Land in late October — leading Legatus International in the footprints of Mary and Jesus. Whether pilgrims should cancel their reservations is a very good question, but I would encourage them to answer NO — at least at this time. We still have PLENTY of time to wait and things are beginning to look up. Things should be quiet well before we visit the Land of Jesus.
Israel has provided a very helpful website to update the over 3 million tourists visiting Israel in 2006. Very few groups have cancelled and there are options which I have made available — an alternative itinerary — in the unlikely event that the fighting does not quiet down in the next few weeks.
Please check out the website www.GoIsrael.com. It is updated daily with the latest news for tourists.
The problems shown daily on the news seem to be ubiquitous, occuring on every intersection in every city. The reality is quite different. The fighting is only on the far northern end of the long, skinny country of Israel. And as time progresses, the areas of Israel that are endangered are becoming less.
Here is the advice of those who are in the know:
So what should I do?
• El Al, Israir, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Air Canada are flying between North America and Israel as normal, with no change in their schedules. Similarly, all European airlines are operating flights to and from Israel with no changes in their schedules.
• Major U.S. tour operators are operating tours to Israel as normal.
• Church and synagogue groups and organizational groups are continuing with their Israel tours. The many hundreds of young participants in Birthright Israel are in Israel now, and their trips are continuing as planned.
• If you’ve already made your travel plans – there’s no need to cancel. If you decide at the last minute to postpone your trip, Most airlines and tour organizers have agreed to our requests that they waive penalties.
For advice, ideas and even more current status of conditions in Israel, or the names and contact information for reliable tour operators to Israel, call 1-888-77-ISRAEL.
There is also a 24/7 information hot-line in Israel that can provide up-to-the second information. From North America, call 011-972-3-520-7600, or during your trip in Israel, call 03-520-7600.