Security in Israel
Although Israel is a Westernized nation, it is, after all, located in the Middle East. As soon as you deplane, you’ll notice the small differences – more security, soldiers walking around in uniform, and, of course, the guns. If you fly El Al, you’ll probably notice the tighter security before you board the plane. Even with all the tightened security, the country feels just as safe as any other place in the world. In fact, you’ll be so accustomed to the guards checking your purse or pockets before you enter the shops or hotels in Israel, that you’ll automatically open your purse when you go in a store back home.
The majority of public places have guards placed in the entrances of the buildings. They dress in security guard attire and may or may not carry a weapon. Before you enter a building, the guard checks your belongings and waves an electronic wand over your body. He’ll usually ask you if you’re carrying a gun as a matter of protocol. If you don’t know what he is saying, just tell him you’re a tourist and you don’t speak Hebrew. They are very understanding.
Guards are stationed at restaurants, banks, museums, hotels in Israel, etc. Although it might feel a bit intimidating at first, it also can give you a feeling of security. Wouldn’t you rather stay at a hotel in Israel that has security guards posted at the entrance? What about entering a restaurant? Wouldn’t it be more comfortable eating a full-course meal if you’re feeling safe? In fact, in today’s world, some other countries are modeling their security system apparatuses and protocols after Israel.
Youth in uniform
Wherever you’re traveling in the country, whether you’re in Eilat, Haifa, or a hotel in Israel in the Golan, you’ll see soldiers dressed in uniform, carrying around rifles. You might be shocked the first few days to see so many rifles in the streets, but by the end of your trip you won’t even notice them. Generally, youth 18 and older serve in the army for three years. The general population (excluding married women and mothers) also serves in the army until about the age of 40 for a period of one to two weeks per year.