The Gaza Conflict and Tourism to Israel

The current conflict between Israel and Gaza has negatively affected tourism in the Holy Land, but perhaps not as much as one might expect. Generally speaking, the conflict is isolated away from most tourist areas. However, the rockets into Tel Aviv and near Jerusalem do change the dynamic a bit.

Ha’aretz, one of Israel’s major daily newspapers has a nice article about the effect of the conflict on tourism.

Below are a few interesting paragraphs from the article (emphasis added), the rest of which can be read at the link above.

As fighting in the Gaza Strip entered its fifth day and Palestinian rockets landed deeper into Israel, travelers who had hoped to visit the Holy Land are starting to think twice.

But travel industry executives say there has not yet been a mass wave of cancellation.

A number of hotels in Israel, along with flagship airline El Al, have already seen some cancelations and believe the number will grow if the violence heads into a second week.

There are minimal cancelations at this moment, but obviously it is an evolving situation,” said a source in the Tourism Ministry, which has yet to offer official statistics.

Is it safe to drink the water in Israel?

Israel is a world leader in water technology, and the water is generally safe to drink.

While in the hotels it is usually okay to drink the filtered water that is served at meals. Also, it is generally safe to brush your teeth with the water in the hotel rooms. However, the safest course of action is to drink bottled water because your stomach may not be ready for microbes that are common for Israelis. (Likewise, Israelis may not be ready for microbes you have become accustomed to in the United States.)

We definitely recommend drinking only bottled water (i.e. no drinking fountains) while out touring. This will help ensure that you don’t need to stay behind for a day or more due to an upset stomach. Bottled water is available on your bus for a reasonable price. This makes it easy to get a few bottles for use in the hotel when you arrive for the evening, and then to refresh yourself throughout the day as needed.

The cost of bottled water is not included in the tour price and is the responsibility of the user. Each person may react differently to the various water sources available in Israel and is solely responsible for their decision to use or not use bottled water.

If you are on an extension to Egypt or Jordan, we suggest you use only bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth in those countries.

Are there restrictions on the items I can bring back the United States?

Yes, there are restrictions on certain items. The United States Customs and Border Patrol has a helpful website . Also, see the helpful “Know Before You Go” page.

Discipleship Travel LLC has no influence in what can and can not be brought back to the United States. There is nothing we can do to help a traveler that is detained by US Customs and Border Patrol due to contraband. Please make sure you are aware of the current restrictions by visiting the pages linked above.

Can I get a single room?

A limited number of single rooms are available for our groups. However, we can never offer more than 10% of our rooms as singles, and depending on the season and demand, the number of single rooms available to a group may be significantly less than 10%.

Those desiring a single room are required to pay a single supplement, which is clearly indicated on your group’s information page. All single rooms require a supplement, even in the case that a traveler wants to share a room but can’t find a roommate.

The amount of the supplement varies according to the details of the specific tour (i.e. season, number of days, and specific hotels).

Discipleship Travel LLC can not be responsible for incompatibility issues between roommates. If there is a need to change from double/triple to single rooms during the trip, for whatever reason, Discipleship Travel LLC will attempt to facilitate those arrangements based on availability and payment of the single supplement, but there is no guarantee that such changes will be possible. Only the hotel management can determine availability for room changes.

Will we have a layover?

If your departure flight does not originate on the East Coast, specifically, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Newark, New York or Boston, it is likely that you will have a layover at a US airport.

Unless your group has a designated extension (e.g. Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Rome, England, or possibly Jordan), Discipleship Travel LLC uses non-stop transatlantic flights only. This means the flight from one of the gateway cities listed above to Israel and back will be direct with no stops. This leg of your flight will be approximately 9-12 hours, depending on your specific city of departure and the direction you are flying.