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Media Sucks; Tel Aviv/Beirut Safe And Worth It?  
User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 3894 times:

Having witnessed first-hand how horrifically the general media sensationalizes, mangles, misrepresents, and distorts the (admittedly existent) violence and overall situation here in New Orleans... I wonder, could the same be true of touristy sections of Israel and Lebanon?



I've always had an interest in visiting Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, several other locales in and near Israel, and Beirut. They have a natural allure that I truly want to experience myself someday.

http://travelers.israel.net/middle-east/image/lebanon24.jpg


From what I've been able to see through my own individual research; as well as hear through the experiences of those who've been there.... the violence is over-exaggerated, and typically confined to regions well-known by locals and often avoided by touirsts.

What say you non-native Westerners who've been there? Was it anywhere near what it's so often depicted to be? Did you ever run into any safety/security concerns and how did you handle them?

38 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineEWRCabincrew From United States of America, joined May 2006, 5527 posts, RR: 56
Reply 1, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3880 times:

CB, I go to TLV constantly. Every month. I feel perfectly safe there. I have my fave restaurants, fave hang-outs, go out walking, go touring, you name it.

The people are phenomenal, food fantastic an overall great place. I have a feeling Lebanon and Beirut will provide the same. You should go to either place. Hell, take CO and you may see me.

Don't let CNN (all the news we want you to see) and reports from other media outlets deter you. They are overstated and greatly overplayed, probably for ratings.

Cheers



You can't cure stupid
User currently offlineSTLGph From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 9511 posts, RR: 26
Reply 2, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3871 times:

Quoting ConcordeBoy (Thread starter):
Having witnessed first-hand how horrifically the general media sensationalizes, mangles, misrepresents, and distorts the (admittedly existent) violence and overall situation here in New Orleans.

yeah, 9 murders in the first couple weeks of the year is a big distortion.

Quoting ConcordeBoy (Thread starter):
I wonder, could the same be true of touristy sections of Israel and Lebanon?

i dunno ... something about a ton of firebombings caught on tape speak a 1,000 words



if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
User currently offlineAloges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 8763 posts, RR: 42
Reply 3, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3867 times:

Quoting EWRCabincrew (Reply 1):
Don't let CNN (all the news we want you to see) and reports from other media outlets deter you. They are overstated and greatly overplayed, probably for ratings.

I don't know what news you folks watch, but I haven't heard really bad news from Israel and Lebanon in a long time. The last was that bit about some walkway near the Dome of the Rock, I think. Of course, it is true that bad news sells best so when there is news that I hear, it usually is about some form of violence.



Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
User currently offlineEWRCabincrew From United States of America, joined May 2006, 5527 posts, RR: 56
Reply 4, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3862 times:

Quoting Aloges (Reply 3):
I don't know what news you folks watch,

It's not all the time. Just when CNN feels necessary to stir things up a bit.

Quoting STLGph (Reply 2):
i dunno ... something about a ton of firebombings caught on tape speak a 1,000 words

That was during the conflict (or whatever it was/is called). Now is fine, it was actually fine in TLV/Jerusalem then, too (just a tad more on edge).



You can't cure stupid
User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3823 times:

Quoting EWRCabincrew (Reply 1):
Hell, take CO and you may see me.

*note to self, avoid CO*
Nah, just kidding.  Wink
Considering my lifelong membership in the Order of the Widget, I'll probably take their 772ER nonstop from ATL should I ever go.

Quoting EWRCabincrew (Reply 1):
Don't let CNN (all the news we want you to see) and reports from other media outlets deter you. They are overstated and greatly overplayed, probably for ratings.

Yeah, have become fairly acquainted with how that works, hence my incentive to post this thread... Anderson Cooper manages to do that to us about every 6weeks or so as of late.

Quoting STLGph (Reply 2):
yeah, 9 murders in the first couple weeks of the year is a big distortion.

...only for one who shares your difficulty in comprehending a concept so simple as isolated low-income drug crime.
Anyone who'd find themselves on the 3rdWard in the pre-dawn hours (which excludes 99.999% of tourists/visitors/businesspeople, who'd have absolutely no reason to be anywhere near there) is more or less asking for trouble.

Quoting STLGph (Reply 2):
i dunno ... something about a ton of firebombings caught on tape speak a 1,000 words

Thanks for being impressionable enough to display my case here.


User currently offlineCadet985 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 1667 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3811 times:

Quoting ConcordeBoy (Thread starter):
visiting Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, several other locales in and near Israel

I was in Israel for 10 days, and before I went, I was scared to death. But you know what? Walking around Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and the other cities I visited, I felt safer there then I do when I go into New York. Terrorism is more common there then it is here, but the police and military do the best they can to prevent it from happening. But here in the US, anyone can walk into a shopping mall, and start shooting. Yeah, if there's an off-duty cop, he/she might have their weapon with them. In Israel, I was in one of the largest malls in the country. Before we could go into the mall, we had to go through a metal detector and our bags were inspected, and the mall security there doesn't just carry handcuffs; they carry Uzis!!!

Quoting ConcordeBoy (Thread starter):
From what I've been able to see through my own individual research; as well as hear through the experiences of those who've been there.... the violence is over-exaggerated, and typically confined to regions well-known by locals and often avoided by tourists.

What say you non-native Westerners who've been there? Was it anywhere near what it's so often depicted to be? Did you ever run into any safety/security concerns and how did you handle them?

I went on an organized trip, and we had a security briefing upon arrival. Pretty much, if you stay near the tourist areas, you will be fine. While I was in Jerusalem, the IDF made some attacks on known terrorist strongholds just inside the West Bank. My father called me all panicky telling me how the news in the US was saying that its a major offensive, and he asked me if I was alright. After talking to our Israeli guide, I found out that we were about 5 miles from where the strikes were going on, and we heard NOTHING!!!

If you have any other questions, you can message me.

Marc


User currently offlineJJJ From Spain, joined May 2006, 1889 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 3767 times:

Both Beirut and Tel-Aviv are perfectly safe for the most part. Plus, in the current situation, luxury hotels in Beirut are a steal right now.

Bear in mind you will have plenty of hassle if you enter TLV with a Lebanese visa/stamp in your passport, get a second passport if you plan to do so.


User currently offlineME AVN FAN From Switzerland, joined May 2002, 13920 posts, RR: 25
Reply 8, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3762 times:

Quoting ConcordeBoy (Thread starter):
safety/security concerns

-
I in 1994 on an invitation visited Tel Aviv on a mixed business/holiday trip. Hired a car, and also visited Akko in the North, the Red Sea and Eilat. There is NO real security problem. I for many years on the phone discussed such matters with people in Tel Aviv, and always got assured that normal people could proceed normally. Bomb-attacks by some crazies were considered a minor threat in comparison to the heavy street traffic.
-
When being in places like Cairo, Alexandria, Beirut, Damascus etc it was always very much the same. Grave things like the war of last year between Israel and Lebanon are the tragic exceptions of course.
-


User currently offlineSoups From Ghana, joined Jun 2004, 3438 posts, RR: 14
Reply 9, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3762 times:

i am off to beirut on saturday for 4 days.... everytime i am there i feel safe


Next destinations, Suarabaya, beirut, paris, Accra
User currently offlineME AVN FAN From Switzerland, joined May 2002, 13920 posts, RR: 25
Reply 10, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3757 times:

Quoting STLGph (Reply 2):
a ton of firebombings

where ?
-


User currently offlineAirxLiban From Lebanon, joined Oct 2003, 4518 posts, RR: 53
Reply 11, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3735 times:

Beirut is simply amazing. I can't say enough about how much I love it - and I won't bother because it won't be particularly useful to you. In short I think its worth going to Beirut to experience what a unique place Lebanon really is. From a safety point of view, I wouldn't worry either. Just about the biggest risk you will run there is the risk of being ripped off by merchants.

I don't necessarily think that my thoughts on Tel Aviv are going to be particularly useful next to the words of A.net Israelis, but I have been to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. I thought that the atmosphere in Tel Aviv was really cool and met some people there who I was quite impressed by. Jerusalem is a must-see place though and not just for the religious significance (which may or may not have any impact on you). However I felt as though the attitudes of some of the people I met in Jerusalem, particularly American Jews who had recently decided to exercise their right of return, were somewhat arrogant and disrespectful. I encountered these people more in Jerusalem than I had in Tel Aviv. At the same time however I ran into a lot of Arabs in Jerusalem who rubbed me the wrong way for the same reasons. I suppose its only natural to find such things in a city whose significance is so strong and so fundamental to so many people.

I guess my bottom line is that if you make it to Israel be sure to check out Jerusalem too. If you go to Lebanon (highly recommended) be sure to let us know so that we can recommend things to do.

By the way, it might not be possible to go to Lebanon and Israel in one trip. I remember at the time that it was possible to get an Israeli visa on a piece of paper separate from the passport. Might want to check it that is still possible.



PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11701 posts, RR: 60
Reply 12, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3731 times:

I was supposed to be in Beirut a month or so ago, but I fell ill before I got there and had to come back early. I was in Syria at the time, and that felt incredibly safe, but, I was warned several times not to go to Lebanon as trouble was starting again. This did coincide with the general strikes over there, so hopefully things have calmed down, because I would love to make it there soon!


Dan Smile



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineME AVN FAN From Switzerland, joined May 2002, 13920 posts, RR: 25
Reply 13, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3722 times:

Quoting AirxLiban (Reply 11):
not be possible to go to Lebanon and Israel in one trip.

it depends on whether you happen to live in a country where you can, either permanently or temporarily, have two passports. You then can do it with a routing ----LCA-BEY-LCA/LCA-TLV-LCA ----- .
-


User currently offlineJJJ From Spain, joined May 2006, 1889 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 3708 times:

Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 13):
it depends on whether you happen to live in a country where you can, either permanently or temporarily, have two passports. You then can do it with a routing ----LCA-BEY-LCA/LCA-TLV-LCA ----- .

What I did was simply asking for a replacement passport (while still keeping the old one, saying you've lost it). Use the old one to enter Arab countries, then the brand new for Israel. I don't know how much a replacement passport costs in your place but here it's quite cheap (17 euros).


User currently offlineManuCH From Switzerland, joined Jun 2005, 3012 posts, RR: 46
Reply 15, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 3698 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

Quoting JJJ (Reply 14):
What I did was simply asking for a replacement passport (while still keeping the old one, saying you've lost it).

If you use the "lost" passport, you're travelling using an invalid piece of ID - being marked as lost. Most countries allow you to have 2 passports if you explain why. But I would never travel with a passport carrying the serial # of a lost one!



Never trust a statistic you didn't fake yourself
User currently offlineEWRCabincrew From United States of America, joined May 2006, 5527 posts, RR: 56
Reply 16, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 3693 times:

As for the Israeli stamp in the passport, ask for a separate sheet for it. This way you will not get a stamp and have no need for a replacement passport.


You can't cure stupid
User currently offlineSTLGph From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 9511 posts, RR: 26
Reply 17, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3691 times:

Quoting ConcordeBoy (Reply 5):
Thanks for being impressionable enough to display my case here.



Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 10):
where ?

did you both miss CNN last year?



if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
User currently offlineME AVN FAN From Switzerland, joined May 2002, 13920 posts, RR: 25
Reply 18, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3681 times:

-


Quoting ManuCH (Reply 15):
you to have 2 passports if you explain why. But I would never travel with a passport carrying the serial # of a lost one!

the passport office in Zurich insisted on retaining one of the two. So that JJ's "solution" is the practical one. And I did use 2 different ones for many years, even with VISA things, without problems.
-

Quoting STLGph (Reply 17):
where ?
--
did you both miss CNN last year?

--

Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 8):
Grave things like the war of last year between Israel and Lebanon are the tragic exceptions of course.

-
I clearly mentioned the "tragic exceptions" in reply-nr.8 ! And that also applied to Haifa. But fortunately rather an exception.
-


User currently offlineEWRCabincrew From United States of America, joined May 2006, 5527 posts, RR: 56
Reply 19, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3679 times:

Quoting STLGph (Reply 17):
did you both miss CNN last year?

STPLGph, that is my point. I was in Israel for a lot of it. Aside from the crowds from the evacuees from the north, it was business as usual. You would never know what was happening.



You can't cure stupid
User currently offlineME AVN FAN From Switzerland, joined May 2002, 13920 posts, RR: 25
Reply 20, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3675 times:

Quoting EWRCabincrew (Reply 19):
in Israel

Had you been in Haifa, your impressions would have been different. B U T to repeat it, that war-campaign of last year is NOT what was referred to in this thread. The topic here is travelling to these countries in general, in spite of terrorist actions which DID happen. But, and this again as well, the danger to get hit by a traffic accident is the one you have to care about !


User currently offlineEWRCabincrew From United States of America, joined May 2006, 5527 posts, RR: 56
Reply 21, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3672 times:

I should have said TLV, you are right ME AN FAN.


You can't cure stupid
User currently offlineJJJ From Spain, joined May 2006, 1889 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 3664 times:

Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 18):
the passport office in Zurich insisted on retaining one of the two. So that JJ's "solution" is the practical one. And I did use 2 different ones for many years, even with VISA things, without problems

I know many people who do that. I don't think any country can access another sovereign country passport database looking for this kind of data.

When I had to change my passport to the new format, they simply put the old one on a machine that tore half of the page with the relevant data before giving it back to me. I don't think think they would bother if the passport was automatically marked as 'invalid'.


User currently offlineSTLGph From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 9511 posts, RR: 26
Reply 23, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 3662 times:

Quoting EWRCabincrew (Reply 19):
STPLGph, that is my point. I was in Israel for a lot of it. Aside from the crowds from the evacuees from the north, it was business as usual. You would never know what was happening.

and it was business as usual for a couple of Starbucks' over in Queens on September 11, 2001.



if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
User currently offlineEWRCabincrew From United States of America, joined May 2006, 5527 posts, RR: 56
Reply 24, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 3657 times:

Quoting STLGph (Reply 23):
and it was business as usual for a couple of Starbucks' over in Queens on September 11, 2001.

You miss my point. The US isn't used to it, Israel is (no where should be used to it).



You can't cure stupid
25 STLGph : and i thought we were talking about out of town tourists?
26 MEA310 : The media is definitely a negative player when it comes to broadcasting the image of one particular country, especially Middle Eastern countries, to t
27 Post contains links Aloges : Speaking of TLV, I recently got my hands on a copy of "Bauhaus Tel Aviv" and was really impressed with what I saw, is the Bauhaus history of the city
28 ME AVN FAN : - to admit it, when getting there in November 94, I had a rather strange feeling about that visit, but I loved that city within the first few hours.
29 TheCol : Israel, especially in cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, is very safe. Most of the West Bank is fairly safe too. Even during the summer conflict, I t
30 AirxLiban : Oops...I meant to say it might be possible, not it might not be possible. The idea was that if you can get an israeli visa on a piece of paper as I m
31 ConcordeBoy : k, so since it's agreed that several sites are much safer than typically depicted in media.... ....what are some of the areas of both Israel and Leban
32 EWRCabincrew : Depends who you are with (by that, I mean a local as opposed to someone who doesn't know squat). Say if you were alone and went to Gaza, that might n
33 ME AVN FAN : -- in case of Lebanon, you ought NOT to go to the immediate border-zone towards Israel, as neither the U.N. troops nor the Lebanese army there wish t
34 Thomson735 : the Media are loosers and idiots, we would be better with out them
35 Post contains images Aloges : I suppose you haven't noticed where exactly it is that political scandals are uncovered?
36 NoUFO : I have always wanted to visit both countries, Israel and Lebanon, but I'm afraid I'd scare my not-so-young-anymore father to dead. When I told him tha
37 ME AVN FAN : you generalize. Much of the media reported in quite a balanced way. Many articles in detail always mentioned that life also before, during and after
38 Cairo : I go to Israel and Lebanon about every 2 weeks or so. Of coarse the threats or fears inspired by the media are well overblown. Both have amazing histo
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