Roger L. Simon

What Do They Know?

I was disappointed to read in Haaretz this morning that the U. S. State Department is urging American citizens to “defer travel” to Israel.

Although “terrorist attacks within Israel have declined in both frequency and associated casualties,” the travel warning states, “the potential for further violence remains high.” Israeli security services report that they are investigating between 40 and 60 planned terrorist attacks at any given time, the travel warning says.

Besides the threat originating from Palestinian militant groups, the upcoming Israeli pullout from the entire Gaza Strip and four settlements in northern Samaria are also cited as a potential source of danger. The disengagement “could lead to violence in Israel by settler groups.”

There’s nothing like a little peace in the air to scare away tourists. Of course, travelers planning on a visit to the Pyramids may be reconsidering their voyage now too. And speaking of the Cairo attack, I bought a few souvenirs of my trip to Egypt in that same market – Khan al-Kalili. I’ve also spent time in the Jerusalem market (Mahane Yehuda) where several terror bombings have occurred. Of course, nothing ever happened to me (other than being fleeced by a guy selling me a hassock) but my luck may be running out. I wouldn’t advise anybody to follow my next itinerary.

TRAVEL UPDATE: (Hey, summer’s coming!) In case you didn’t know, passports will soon be required for US citizens reentering this country from Canada. I used to be one of those who thought: Wow, it’s cool how you don’t need a passport to go all over Europe! (I slept through a couple of countries on occasion.) No longer – especially the way things are going in Canada these days.