I was already preparing some thoughts in answer to the questions I keep hearing… “Is it safe to go to Israel?
Then I heard the news from Boston.
Two bombs ripped apart the Boston Marathon finish line, shaking the city of Boston and the nerves of all America.
My response to the questions of safe travel in Israel have not changed from yesterday. I live in Fresno. The lead story on our evening newscasts, just about every night, reports another shooting or stabbing in our region and locals are not generally afraid to live here.
It’s safer in Israel.
Vigilance is part of everyday life in Israel. No, it’s not fun to have to hold out your backpack or purse for security to check every time you walk into the market, post office, school, bank…
You get used to it… like many of us have gotten used to the TSA in the world after 9/11. For many of us, that adjustment to post 9/11 life returned us to life as usual in Israel. It’s been more than twenty years since I lived there but, even then, security procedures were much more vigilant than we even find in America today.
We learned to be wary of unidentified packages.
Just a few weeks ago, we received a package at the temple that caused us some concern. I was pretty sure it wasn’t anything to worry about, but I’ve been well trained… err on the side of caution. We called our friends at the FBI who decided to clear our building and call in the local police bomb squad. Yes, it was nothing dangerous, but I greatly appreciated our law enforcement representatives taking it seriously and confirming that we had done the right thing by calling them in.
The bombing in Boston was another horrible reminder that we still live in a world that requires such precautions whether we’re in Fresno or in Israel.
I’m not worried about visiting Israel. I’m not too thrilled to travel through airports shortly after an apparent terrorist attack, but I’m excited to return to a place of deep comfort, a home different than my home in California but still quite homey.
And if I get a tinge of concern about Middle-eastern unrest, I simply turn on our local news and am reminded that the feeling of safety is relative.
I’ll try to blog from Israel and send thoughts and pictures from our ancestral homeland.