Updated on 7/28/2014 at 4:35 pm EST:
All security measures continue to be followed.
The Northern border, Jerusalem, and the Dead Sea strip remain quiet, allowing for most of our planned itinerary to continue as planned.
More testimonials from participants in Israel these past week:
"I felt safe the entire trip and didn't feel like I missed out on anything!" -M'ichaela
"Despite the ongoing conflict we were mostly unaffected by current events. This was the trip of a lifetime; please don't pass it up!" -Drew
"Life changing experience, you need to go!" -Matt
"I didn't want to go in the first place...but I've extended and am still here!" -Michelle
"Birthright Israel was amazing and we never felt that we would be in danger at anytime." -Ian
Updated on 7/24/2014 at 5:15 pm EST:
FAA now allowing US flights to and from Tel Aviv Airport. European carriers have followed this decision also.
Testimonials from participants in Israel these past 10 days:
I was hesistant to go, but the best decision I made was to go on the trip. This experience changed my life." - Nicole
"I felt safe the entire time I was here in Israel. So much so that I've chosen to extend for a week. The staff takes great measures for participant safety." -Thomas
"What an incredible experience. There was never any thought of danger in my mind. Just a 100% unforgettable tour through Israel that made me fall in love with this country." -Francis
Updated on 7/23/2014 at 5:00 pm EST:
All security measures continue to be followed.
Today was the last day of one of our trips. 90% of participants decided to extend and continue to tour around Israel. The other participants took an El Al flight back to the USA and are scheduled to arrive on time.
Our other group hiked up Masada today and had Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies atop Masada mountain.
Updated on 7/22/2014 at 5:00 pm EST:
Today's news about flight cancellations do not affect Israel Free Spirit trips currently in Israel because all El Al flights are continuing as scheduled and will not be cancelled.
We will continue to monitor the decision of other airlines as the August trip dates approach, since this decision is scheduled to be in effect for only 24 hours.
The Government of Israel has announced that Ben Gurion Airport remains open for all takeoffs and landings.
Israel Free Spirit trips currently in Israel continue to follow their itineraries. Today one of the groups hiked Carmel Mountains and visited the Behai Gardens. Another group will hike Masada tomorrow. You can view photos here.
Updated on 7/21/2014 at 5:00 pm EST:
Israel Free Spirit trips currently in Israel did not spend the night in the Bedouin tents, but in a nearby kibbutz instead.
Things in Israel have calmed more as the focus turns to Gaza (an area our trips are never near).
All security measures are fully in place as the situation continues.
Updated on 7/18/2014 at 1:00 pm EST:
All Israel Free Spirit trips are currently in Jerusalem enjoying their Shabbat experience.
The ground operation in Gaza does not affect our trips. All security guidelines are in place as always.
Updated on 7/17/2014 at 5:00 pm EST:
Trips currently in Israel continue to follow their itineraries. Click here for photos.
Taglit-Birthright Israel, the umbrella organization, has 85 trips and 2700 participants in Israel at this time.
Tel Aviv continues to be off limits.
All other security measures continue to be in place.
Updated on 7/16/2014 at 12:00 pm EST:
Three groups in Jerusalem and two groups in the North continuing to follow their trip itineraries.
Click here to view photos of yesterday's activities from trips currently in Israel.
All current Taglit-Birthright Israel trips are having an amazing experience and feel safe despite the current conflict. You can check out some of what's happening on all the current Birthright Israel groups here.
All trips are staying clear of most of southern Israel and any other area deemed "high risk" according to the Security Room (see below) and this will continue until the situation is completely resolved.
General Safety & Security
The following are the basic components of Taglit-Birthright Israel's approach to security:
- Each group is accompanied in Israel at all times by one or two medics / security escorts.
- Each group's itinerary is re-approved each morning by a special "Security Room." The Security Room is a contact center managed by security personnel who receive information and guidelines from Israel's national security authorities on behalf of Taglit-Birthright Israel.
- The Security Room monitors in real time through a GPS tracking system which is carried by all trips. They also provide approval for all trip itineraries each morning, guidelines for safety on trips, spot checks, and daily communication with each trip's tour guide.
- In the wake of the current escalation, the Security Room provides ongoing updates and instructions several times a day.
- The program itinerary does not include visits or travel anywhere near or within the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
- While we make every effort to give participants space and time to explore on their own, they cannot leave the group without approved supervision.
- The safety and security of all participants on our trips is always our top priority. We are constantly reviewing all security advisories coming out of the US and Israel and will implement the most stringent security measures throughout the trip to ensure a comprehensive safety umbrella.
Finally, it is important to remember that over the past 15 years, over 400,000 people have visited Israel on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip without a single security-related incident. Taglit-Birthright Israel provides as secure an environment as possible on all of our programs.
If you, your family, or a friend would like to discuss our security approach in greater detail, we encourage you to contact us directly at 845-290-9778.