is it safe?

Israel is a country with an ongoing conflict, with ups and downs of violence. Keep in mind that:

  • For the last 15 years, there have been periodic short-range missile exchanges between Israel and Gaza. These reprisals have not significantly affected the safety of pilgrimages, since the border is relatively far from holy sites and pilgrim routes. In fact, during this period, tourism has steadily climbed to record heights.

  • 2014 was the only time we ever altered our itinerary for safety reasons, and it was only a precautionary measure, in order to keep a larger distance away. This latest incidents do not represent, in our view, any change in the situation.

  • We do not go near the Gaza border. The conflict with Gaza is something categorically different from Israel's peaceful, yet troublesome and tense relationship with the other Palestinian territories. For these, we are obliged to pass through security and passport checkpoints as we travel to Jericho, Bethlehem, and Hebron. This is usually quick, without any problems. We rarely have to wait, nor do Palestinians bearing legitimate documents.

  • Israeli security has nearly eliminated the possibility of arms crossing borders. Soldiers and police are present, Random violence in the vicinity of where we will travel has been rare since 2001, involving knives, arson, etc.

  • The riots of May, 2021, are a new development. Some of these have been in areas where we sometimes go. As security measures prevent arms and explosives in these conflicts, there were many injuries, but only a few deaths. If any new conflicts arise, we will be especially cautious to avoid risky places and times.

  • Israeli intelligence helps us know when there are alerts, for example, the possibility of Palestinian riots, a missile from Gaza or Syria, a bomb from Iran...

But there are no guarantees and so, more importantly:

  • Our site at Emmaus is an ideal home base in case of any incident, whether you get ill, your grandma dies and you need to go home early, or the political situation takes a turn and we need to avoid part of our itinerary. We are just off the highway 20 min from the airport, but we are set aside from any Israeli or Palestinian inhabitants or businesses--10 minutes from the nearest town.

  • ​We are one mile from a Trappist monastery, a museum, and gas station. We have 13 people living here all the time, ready to help us judge a situation or help us out in case of an emergency. We are located at The Holy Site of Emmaus Nicopolis, Laturn Interchange of Hwy 1 and Hwy 3. 

  • We are teaming up with Sar-El, Israel's largest travel agency, for the Fall of 2021. They will further equip us with vigilance, with Covid precautions/requirements, and with response to any emergencies.

  • You can send a text to Fr. Anthony's American number any time: 720.336.1492. You can also text or call Fr. Anthony Israeli cellphone (and Whatsapp): +972. In the event of an emergency, you can also call the cellphone of another brother at the monastery, Br. Anton, at +972.52.356.2071. 


I feel at peace encouraging anyone to visit, given this stable support we have with our community that has been here since 1975. Share this with your parents! I'm happy to talk with them on the phone, too.


Fr. Anthony Ariniello, CB