3 Reasons Traveling to Israel is Safer Than You Expect

April 1st 2017

As local tour operators, your safety is our #1 concern.

The coverage that Israel receives in mainstream media outlets generally emphasizes the volatility of conflict, acts of terror and social strife. It totally makes sense that you might not be sure how comfortable you’ll feel in Israel.

However, you should never feel ashamed of having mixed feelings about traveling to the Middle East. As you’ll see when you get here, the gap between this impression and the reality of being here couldn’t be wider.

The truth is that Israel is a vibrant, joyful, and extremely safe place to be. This is how people feel when they’re here, and it’s a feeling that’s backed by plenty of evidence and stats.

Here are three facts that our clients are often surprised and delighted to learn as we discuss safety with them. 

10 Day Jewish Heritage Tour

Fact #1: Less Crime than the USA

The authoritative Numbeo “2015 Crime Index” lists Israel’s crime index score as 30.40, ranking at number 122 out of 147, which means that the country is safer than 83% of the world. As a point of comparison, the United States comes in at number 54 with a crime index score of 50.01.

In fact, the most frequently reported crimes are vehicle thefts, petty larcenies, and residential burglaries, according to the US State Department’s “2014 Israel Crime and Safety Report.” None of these crime types target tourists directly. 

Jerusalem Old City - The Southern Walls

Fact #2: Less Violence than your City

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s “Global Study on Homicide” says it all. During the course of 2012, the last complete year for which statistics are available, the US saw 4.7 murders per 100,000 citizens.

By contrast, in Israel, the rate was just 1.8 murders per 100,000 citizens. This means that Israel has less than half the per-capita murder rate of the US. And yes, these figures do take murders associated with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into account.

The Centre for Research on Globalization’s “Terrorism Statistics Every American Needs to Hear” notes that, rather than terrorism, murder or any kind of violent crime, car accidents are the leading cause of death among American citizens overseas. So buckling up and observing the speed limit stands as the most actionable, potentially lifesaving advice no matter where you are in the world. 

Visiting Soldiers in Hebron!

Fact #3: Stricter Firearm Policies

Ownership of firearms is strictly controlled in Israel. In order to own a gun in Israel, citizens are required to have no criminal record, be in good health, pass a weapons-training course, live in a specific limited area where the government deems a gun may be owned or be an officer in the IDF, etc… the average Israeli citizen simply cannot own a gun in practical terms.

In addition, licenses for private gun holders in Israel are limited to a single handgun. The US is number one in the world for guns owned per capita, at 90 per 100 people, whereas Israel ranks at number 79 with 7.3.

Israel hosted some 3.3 million foreign visitors over the course of 2014. We hope these facts, along with knowing that your safety is our most important priority, help you feel more comfortable about touring Israel.