As you might learn from the History and Culture tour from us, there are many peoples living in Israel and the majority lives in peace. Tourism is important for Israel, but it’s essential for the Arab communities and the Arab people. Many Arabs live from the tourist industry (only) and if tourism stops in Israel, those people are suffering the most. For the Palestinian authorities this means a disaster, because the majority of their tax money comes from tourism. But what is worse, a big part of the Palestinian people will suffer even more, because they will not be able to buy food!
As every country, especially in democracies, people might ‘erupt‘ in protests, and Israel is not an exception. Some years ago, the Israelis left their homes and protested against the government because of the rising prices, the prices of the apartments, the cost of living and the support for those without any place to live. Huge camps were erected in the middle of Tel Aviv and many such protests started throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of people were actually showing their support for those who suffered and showing their government that they were not pleased. The same happened not so long time ago with the Ethiopian minority, who went to the streets in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in protests, sometimes violent.
And then we have the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. At this moment, at certain places in Jerusalem Palestinian youth are going to the streets to fight the Israeli police.
The Israeli authorities are closing the areas of conflict and tensions for the general public, but the riots and violence occurs there. Israeli and Palestinian authorities are attempting to stop the violence because of various reasons. The actual violence is not supported by the Palestinian population; it’s a group of ‘young hot-heads’ who are executing the actual violence against the Israeli authorities. There is no protests like you saw in Israel happening years ago, when hundreds of thousands of people went to the streets to protest. For the Palestinian side of this violence it means no business, no income and more suffering because of reduction of tourism.
For the normal man on the streets, Israeli or Palestinian, the current unrest and violence is something you watch on TV or read in the newspaper, just like you. The majority of the Israelis, Arabs and Palestinians are normally go to work and do shopping and live their lives as usual. And with the majority I mean 99.9% of the total population.
It would be different when suicide bombs start to explode in the Israeli cities. Or that the people would be attacked by armed terrorists. Or war starts again from Gaza. But that does not happen, because of the professionalism of the Israeli and Palestinian authorities. That’s something from the past and is not allowed to happen again. My mother told me years ago that it’s safer to live in Tel Aviv then in Rotterdam, Holland. And that’s true.
If you book a tour with us, you will meat the Palestinians and Arabs (and others), and you will learn quickly that they are friendly, warm people, helping anyone they can. Their food is something you can only dream of and their culture is breathtaking. The beauty of their houses, they way how they welcome a stranger, the way how they laugh and joke and their worldview and how they try to teach you some Hebrew or Arabic words, how they introduce you to their cakes and sweets and drink their wonderful coffee. You can listen to their stories about their uncles and nephews, their work and their neighbors, their view about politics and listen what they know and think about your home country.
And then you will notice that they appreciate Christianity, talking to Christians, while some of them are Muslims! They do that with compassion for religious people in general, sharing the good of both religions and appreciating what each religion can bring them and others.
How do our tours get influenced by the protests? Not much. It’s impossible for people to enter the areas of conflicts, even when someone would try. 99% Of the programs are continuing as normal.