Q – We have close friends who want us to join them on a cruise that spends three days in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. We enjoy downtown Chicago, where we have retired, and, quite frankly, my wife has some safety concerns about traveling right now to Israel. I am wondering what your writers feel about the whole safety issue of visiting Israel aboard a cruise ship in the current environment?

A – Oy Vey! You live in downtown Chicago and you want to know if it is safe to visit Tel Aviv, Israel? It is safe for you to go almost anywhere. The United States is a statistically violent country with more people in prison than any other nation on earth, including China. Spend some time reading the overseas travel advisories for international visitors planning on visiting our country generally and Chicago specifically.

Go to Israel and learn why the most sophisticated Europeans have been heading there for years. Tel Aviv has incredible shopping, extraordinary beaches, and wonderful restaurants. It also has a young vibe with hundreds of outdoor cafes and a vibrant nightlife. We wish there were a few more absolutely top tier hotels but they are getting there. This notion that we should stay at home to be “safer” flies in the fact of a mass of statistical evidence to the contrary. Not only will you fall in love with Tel Aviv, you will marvel at the level of security you feel when true safety professionals are in charge.  If the rest of the itinerary interests you and you are only concerned about the portion of the itinerary that includes Israel, we would say you should definitely join your friends. Just be careful driving out to O’Hare, it will be the most dangerous part of your journey.