No doubt you’ve been watching the news coverage on the current situation in Israel. And no doubt you’ve been wondering if this will affect my 2014 Tour. Perhaps you're thinking, “She's really gonna lead a tour to Israel? Is she crazy?” Let me give you some information that will hopefully put your mind at ease and shed some light on the subject.
Although this will only be my 5thtrip to Israel, my former Pastor (Reverend G. Richard Fisher) has organized and led over 30 tours to the Holy Land. And my travel agent, Cindi Brodhecker, has organized dozens of Israel Tours over the years. I also have several other connections with Israeli Tour Guides and Israeli residents with whom I stay in touch. Any of the people I mentioned above will tell you that there is a perpetual state of “unrest” between Israel and various Islamic terrorist groups. Nevertheless, under “normal” circumstances, Israel is generally a very safe place to visit.
The current situation in Israel is actually quite predictable. Historically, it’s usually brought about by some outside event(s) prompting the terrorists to assume that Israel is weak and vulnerable and won’t respond to new attacks. This time it appears that the events include: 1) the re-election of President Obama, who is seen by many as wavering in his defense of Israel, 2) the new Islamic Brotherhood regime in Egypt, and 3) the current Israeli election with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is up for re-election.
The current situation in Israel is also nothing new. In fact, we can read about it in Psalm 2, which is often called a “Coronation” Psalm. Written by King David, it was used whenever an old king died and a new king was being crowned. During that time of political transition, the pagan nations surrounding Israel often considered it the perfect time to rebel. Take a look:
Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” But the One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.....You will break them with a rod of iron; You will dash them to pieces like pottery." (Psalm 2: 1-4,9)
This same scenario has played out so many times since 1948 (Israel’s re-birth as a nation). It’s happening now, and it will have the same result. Hamas terrorists are reacting during this time of political transition… but as promised and proven, the Lord will be with Israel. The unrest has always been relatively brief and has very rarely affected group travel. Inevitably, things in Gaza always go back to their usual state of “uneasy peace”.
You also need to understand the geography of Israel. The Gaza Strip is just a narrow slice of land (in Biblical times, it was Philistine territory) in the southwest corner of Israel. WE NEVER GO ANYWHERE NEAR THE GAZA STRIP. There’s nothing to see there, and the Israeli government wouldn’t let us go even if we wanted to! So please be assured that we will never take the group anywhere or anyplace that is unsafe.
Of course, the safety of our group is my highest priority. I, along with Cindi and others who are involved in the planning of this tour, have been continually monitoring the situation. Since our tour is not until April, we have plenty of time to wait patiently, calmly, and prayerfully… and in all likelihood, the situation will soon settle down. In fact, to quote a recent text message from one of my Israeli friends: “for everywhere else in Israel, daily life goes on as usual.”
We fully expect this situation in Gaza to settle down, and we fully expect to travel in March 2014 and enjoy the Land of the Bible! If you have any questions about the billing or registration process, please contact Cindi Brodhecker at (717) 733-1655. If you have any questions or concerns about the tour itself or the safety of our group, feel free to email me.
But for right now, we need to stay calm and prayerful, trusting in God’s perfect plan and perfect timing for this trip. Please join me in prayer for the strength and success of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and for wisdom for Israeli and American political leaders.
And though it’s been said many times many ways: There will never complete peace in Israel until Jesus comes back! Amen?!
Todah raba. . . im ahava, simkha, ve shalom b’Yeshua haMessiach!
(Translation from Hebrew: “Thank you very much. . . with love, joy, and peace in Jesus Christ!)