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How safe are Tel Aviv and Jeresulem between Christmas and New Year's?

I am aware of internal and external conflicts as well as warning across the board, at least back to 3-5 years ago.

I have also read of several terror attacks in Jerusalem dated as early as 2017 and that there is plenty of army on the streets.

I am trying to understand how safe I can be as a solo traveler in the 2 cities mentioned above and if I should pay some particular attention (beyond pickpockets) or specific "sensitive" quarters?

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Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are as safe on these days as on all other days. You should differentiate between the two cities, there is a difference in how these days are celebrated in each:

  • Tel Aviv: Christmas is pretty much nonexistent in most of Tel Aviv, there is a small number of public/touristic events related to the holiday, but they are all happening in Jaffo.

  • Jerusalem: Christmas is (not surprisingly) more significant in Jerusalem and there are more events celebrating and relating to the holiday. But again, they are localized to specific areas and not citywide, like you might find in European and other places (more on this later).

Because Christmas is a Christian holiday, and the more "explosive" times are around Jewish or Muslim holidays, it should be as safe as every normal day, if not safer due to the mutual interest of not harming tourists and visitors.

The new years eve is even less of an issue, it's not really a special day for most people here, and as such there are no public events for it, there are some clubs, restaurants, bars, etc. that will have special events for the day, but they are all inside the relevant establishment, and not public. There should be no added risk on that day.

Few more general notes and recommendations:

While I can't tell from personal experience, but the general consensus is that the best place to experience Christmas in Israel is in Nazareth, if you want to experience a special Christmas in the Holy Land this would probably be the best place for it. The other place is Bethlehem, in the Palestinian territories. The place where Jesus was born is probably the best place to celebrate his birth.

Pickpocketing is not really a problem in Israel as it is other popular attractions in the world, so at least here you can walk a little easier on the street (but still be careful and use common sense).

The old city of Jerusalem is really filled with lots of armed personnel for protection (and is also lined with CCTV cameras filming every corner), but they are not from the military, they are policemen and women from the Border Police which is the Israeli gendarmerie. The main difference for a visitor is that they are trained to deal with civilians and the public and, I believe, that once you understand that they are police officers and not soldiers, it becomes less threatening to a visitor.

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I have lived in Israel for over a decade and do not recall this period of time as ever being associated with any specific rise in activity. In other words, whatever safety advice/precautions you would treasure at any other time apply equally. And I would consider things to be as safe (or dangerous, depending on how you want to frame things, who you are, where you want to go, and what you want to do, etc) as the week before or the week after.

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It is difficult to answer, and we lack some information which are probably also illegal to ask (e.g. about your ethnicity and religion: these matter for this topic) [and please do not add such information].

In general it is safe on touristic places (check touristic guides), especially if you look like a tourist (this is contrary of most safety rules around the world: the conflicts are mostly with local people, and both want to keep tourist friendly: both need money from tourists).

Get daily information from hotel staff about demonstrations and clashes, and avoid such zones.

It should be safe. If you want to cross the wall, thing could change, but also on other small villages on Israeli side. Still safe on most touristic places, but I would avoid going alone: some people could react badly to every foreign, or you could just do involuntarily something offensive/disregardful (e.g. of local customs).

  • that's a good answer. thank you. would you elaborate more? I understand you have actual experience with it – dragonmnl Dec 10 '19 at 23:07
  • I have some experience, but not so extensive experience. I was there, in the period that there were nearly every day knife attacks, but I never fell myself unsafe (and you may see on newspaper the next day, where you were few hour later). Not all people are the same, so you may get offences because I'm western or foreign (but this can happen in most western countries, on very small villages). I would say: travel in group or in touristic places. Do not argue, do not discuss politics [we will never know all facts [large and small]]. You should be more explicit on what you want more info. – Giacomo Catenazzi Dec 11 '19 at 8:46

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