Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

In July we advised a friend against traveling to the UAE for a family vacation. Thankfully, he listened. But vacation season is in full swing, holiday money is aching to be spent, and social networks still need to be updated with new pictures. So this time our buddy approached the problem of choosing a holiday destination in a much more responsible manner, even going as far as doing a little safety analysis of several resorts. Thus, he figured it was best not to go to Turkey because of all the recent terrorist attacks (and in any case, he’s been there too many times already), Egypt is politically very unstable (and the waiters are lazy), but Israel seems to be a great option, highly praised by everyone (and recommended by the travel agent). Or is it?

Dear Friend! Israel is a great holiday destination. It steals your heart in a manner no other country can, and creates memories that last a lifetime. On this we fully agree with your travel agent (good sales job, by the way). But is it worth going there now? Let’s have a look at our trusty old map for advice.

There’s a neighbor in the north with a lot of issues – Syria. You have no doubt heard that there is a war out there. Sure, the media downplays it by calling it a “conflict”, a “struggle for democracy”, “social unrest” and so on, but we prefer to call a spade a spade. There is a very real civil war in Syria, and it has been going on for many months now, with no end in sight. This mess is happening right now on Israel’s border, and the whole world is waiting with bated breath for Turkey, the US and the Europeans to join the fray. President Obama recently announced that he is concerned about the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria, as this may lead to “serious consequences.”

Translated into <insert your native tongue here>, it means that President Obama has found an excuse for a military strike against Syria. But for the people of Israel this isn’t news. Gas masks are very popular here, but we doubt they will be of any use against waves of refugees and bearded gunmen in case of an international military operation in Syria.

What about Israel’s other neighbor, Lebanon? Alas, it’s no good either. The Syrian blight has now spread to its territory as well. And it’s not just me trying to scare you, it’s the Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati. His army cannot cope with the burgeoning religious strife that has already claimed numerous victims. If Lebanon is not pacified in the nearest future, then things can get really ugly for Israel, really soon. Some knowledgeable people even talk about the likelihood of a Third Lebanese War (yes, Israel has already been at war twice with Lebanon, most recently in 2006).

Obviously, the north of Israel is, to put it mildly, rather unsettled right now. But you can always take to the south, right? They say Eilat is the perfect place to stay: it’s got a unique climate, ancient history, beautiful coral reefs in the Red Sea, etc. Again, it’s pretty far from the troublesome northern neighbors and their pesky issues, so what else could you need?

But again, lets look at the map. Southern Israel shares a border with Egypt. Yes – the one with the pyramids, lazy waiters and a recent revolution. Relations between the two countries have always been rather strained, but the former Egyptian President Mubarak somehow managed to keep them from deteriorating. After his ousting and the advent of Mursi, no one knows what to expect next. But let’s consider some facts.

Right now the Egyptian security forces are unfolding a military operation against radical Islamists in the Sinai Peninsula. About three thousand radicals are hiding in the mountains, and smoking them out is no walk in the park. The Egyptians brought heavy military equipment into the Israeli borderlands, promising to backup the operation with its air force. Just in case, Israel any case covered Eilat with an “Iron Dome” – a missile defense system capable of destroying up to 80% of rockets entering the area’s airspace. This means that when you’re lying in a deck chair somewhere on of the Red Sea, nursing a margarita or a mojito, you can rest assured that out of the 10 missiles fired, 8 will definitely not reach you…

Oh and we almost forgot about Jordan, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, neither of which add a whit of stability and peace to the region. In other words, it’s a bad case of SOL* for Israel when it comes to nice peace-loving neighbors. With the heat turning up higher and higher across all of the Middle East, Israel is finding itself in a very vulnerable position.

And one more thing: Iran! Though it shares no border with Israel, it is still a key adversary. Last week, President Ahmadinejad called Israel a “cancerous tumor” and said that it should be surgically removed  from the body of the planet. Of course, he sounds like a broken record every other week when it comes to anti-Israel rhetoric, but somehow this time he seems a bit more serious than usual. Israeli politicians are also adding fuel to the fire; every other day they either threaten to strike Iran, or scare the population with terrible consequences of such a war.

And even though many do not believe in the reality of the worst case scenario, everyone is preparing for war, without exception. Some by building up their pile of guns, while others, most notably the European countries, by stacking up on oil reserves. And we don’t think its just a coincidence, either.

We don’t know if we’ve managed to convince you this time around, but before you make a final decision, gives us the benefit of the doubt and visit some public Israeli forums. See what are the things the locals discuss the most, and then make your choice.

After all, that is the beauty of the web – it gives you plenty of options for research and insight – should you wish to do so.