Is It Safe For Jews To Travel?

Antisemitism on the Rise?

Safe For Jews To Travel
Chaya Zissel Braun הי”ד

Yesterday we had a terrible tragedy. A three-month old baby Chaya Zissel Braun הי”ד was killed in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem. It’s not the first attack we’ve experienced in Israel lately and probably not the last, Chas V’Sholom.

As Jews we are suffering in Israel and across the world as there seems to be some rise in anti-Semitic violent activity. Take Europe for example. According to an August 2014 article in The Guardian –  Antisemitism on rise across Europe ‘in worst times since the Nazis’. This is true in France, Germany, Holland and Italy and many other places.

The World Zionist Organization declares that “There was a significant increase of 436% in anti-Semitic incidents in Europe, a 1200% increase in antisemitism in South America, an increase of 600% in South Africa, an increase 800% in Oceania, an increase of 127% in the United States and an increase of 100% in Canada“. (see article in Arutz 7).

Sounds bad. Frightening. What next?

One can blame Operation Protective Edge, the increase in militant Islāmic groups like ISIS or any other factor, but the fact remains that Jews and Jewish organizations are targeted. Which brings me to the basic question: “Is it still safe for Jews to travel?”.

Travel Warnings

It isn’t my job to give travel alerts or warnings. I’ll leave that up to the professionals like the US Department of State (see HERE) which gives detailed information about the risks involved in traveling to each country. Israel and other countries have their own guidelines. See HERE for the Israeli Government travel warnings.

A Perspective on Traveling

I’d like to give just a bit of perspective. I remember after September 11th how much people thought it was extremely dangerous to go to the US. For those lost or injured in the horrific attack, it definitely was. Nevertheless more than 285 million people lived in the States on that date (see US Census Bureau Statistics for any date). Stores continued to sell. People ate, drank, got married and gave birth. Life was different after 9/11, but life still went on.

The same in Israel. We’ve gone through wars, military operations, bomb attacks, missiles and lately “hit and run” terrorism. Does that mean Israeli society ceased functioning? Not at all. The majority of Israelis continue to function more or less normally even through the most difficult circumstances. Life goes on.

Safe For Jews To Travel

 Safe For Jews To Travel
Prayer For Travelers

In my humble opinion, there is no reason for a Jew to avoid traveling. Of course we need to take precautions. Ask advice of the locals, check out US Travel Warnings, maybe minimize speaking Hebrew in public or walking around looking overly Jewish in some countries.

But to avoid travel completely? No way.

Wherever on the globe you live at the moment there is always someone on the other side of the globe who feels you are living in a dangerous spot. Maybe only in the North Pole it’s safe from antisemitism…but then you can get frostbite and hypothermia instead.

In conclusion, take the necessary precautions, do the due diligence and say Tfilas Haderech (Prayer for traveling) with all your heart.

Safe trip !

4 thoughts on “Is It Safe For Jews To Travel?”

  1. Hi David,

    Nice try. However, no one needs to travel anymore to study research on Jewish history. Thanks to the Internet.

    1. Not all Jewish manuscripts are on the Internet. Sometime you have to travel to the Vatican to access them…

  2. A country and its people where women cannot safely walk around looking overly effeminate, or where Jews cannot safely walk around looking overly Jewish does not deserve your visit!!!! I’m not joking.

    1. Hi MM,
      True, yet there are many reasons to travel including doing research on Jewish history. There are many unfriendly countries where the Jewish Story in that country is part of our collective identity. Of course one must keep safe.

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