IsramWorld, a major tour operator serving the Israeli market, reports it currently has 784 Americans in Israel - on groups, FIT's and custom private car tours - "and not one of them has decided to curtail his or her vacation." The ongoing clash between Israel and forces in Gaza has captured worldwide attention and raised questions about traveler safety.
"Life in most of Israel goes on as usual - the kids go to school, Mom and Dad go to work, Tel Aviv's restaurants, clubs and bars are full to the rafters, and tourists are touring, shopping, napping and beaching as tourists customarily do," IsramWorld says.
"As always in such cases, watching from afar can be harrowing, while being there is very different. The fact is that 2012 is the best year ever for tourism to Israel; there are currently tens of thousands of tourists in Israel; and flights are arriving and departing as normal. We've been here before. This too shall pass," IsramWorld said.
The Israeli Ministry of Tourism also moved to reassure visitors. "For some days rockets have been fired from the Palestinians’ Gaza Strip into southern Israel. A majority of the rockets have been brought down by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system, but some have landed in towns and cities in a quite large area."
"Most of the areas the rockets have reached are off the usual tourist routes, but a few have been aimed towards Tel Aviv. Most of the rockets launched towards Tel Aviv were deflected by the Iron Dome. No tourists have been involved in any incidents. Conditions in most of Israel are normal."
The Ministry says there are currently more than 100,000 tourists vacationing in Israel and there are "no signs whatsoever that visitors are cutting their trips short. Individuals and groups continue to depart the U.S. and Canada for Israel without interruption."
"If you’re taking an organized tour, and should it be necessary, your tour operator will adjust your itinerary. If you’re traveling independently, hotels and tour guides are equipped to assist you and to suggest what you should and should not do, and where you should or should not go," the Ministry says.
"More than 80 airlines are operating their normal schedules to and from Israel, and today, as every day, close to 20 flights are operating nonstop between the United States and Canada and Israel, and vice versa," the Ministry said.
The ministry offers advice online at www.goisrael.com and urges travelers to visit the website of the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv israel. The sites offer up-to-date information for the benefit of Americans visitors.