Why I Chose to Visit Israel

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I’m not one to enjoy controversy and I shy away from arguments like a turtle retreating into their shell – so it has come as a surprise to some of my readers that I have chosen to visit Israel and for peace of mind, feel I should explain my decision to be here as I do not wish to offend anyone by doing so. For those who aren’t aware or haven’t been educated, the controversy comes as the modern state of Israel has not always been Israel. It was in 1948 when Israel came to being, after a war with the Palestinians over the land that is now modern day Israel, with Palestinian Territories in the West Bank and Gaza.

That’s a very short history so if you’re interested in reading more about it, I urge you to seek further history online.



Why I Chose to Visit Israel

I’m aware my decision to travel here is not accepted by all, however being that I am a travel blogger I can assure you I am not here in any political capacity, but to see and experience The Holy Land. As a Christian, I have always wanted to visit the cities and places referenced in the bible – from Nazareth (Jesus’ childhood city) to Jerusalem and everywhere in between. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to visit such places and for that reason and that reason alone, I am in Israel.

According to the media headlines, Israel is a scary place. Even during times of peace it is portrayed in an alternative light and leads people to think they can not travel here because of the ongoing tensions. For 1500 years Christians, Jews and Muslims have struggled over this land known as the Holy Land (with sites also in the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, western Jordan and south-western Syria).

None of the issues you read about in the media are new. Invasion and political turmoil have been ongoing for thousands of years. However it is not the answer to fight hate with hate, and tourists (myself included) visiting Israel are not to blame here.

I am here to see the Biblical ruins, sites and cities I have always dreamed of visiting. I am here to float in the dead sea. I am here to learn about and educate myself on all religions – not just my own. I am here to appreciate the beautiful nature of the Middle East. I am here to visit sacred sites, museums, jewish quarters AND Arab markets.

When people say “educate yourself”, this is my answer – to travel. I will not know what it is like in Israel until I am here to see it for myself. To ask questions and to question answers. I am here to learn without prejudice and I am here to share my experience in the Holy Land with those considering travelling here who might be concerned about safety given the ongoing unrest.

I urge you to not believe everything you hear in the media and avoid jumping to conclusions before asking someone why they chose to do something.

This trip is my chance to see the land for myself and to share my experience, not to defend my being here in sacred land, regardless of the title.

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

November 12, 2015



  1. awesomemellema@gmail.com'


    November 26, 2015

    Sounds really great, can’t wait to read how it was in Israeli. I understand what you mean, many of my friends call me an idiot for going to certain countries, while it’s a beautiful country with nice people when you avoid the real dangerous places. It’s quite silly.. I hope you find what you need in the Holy Land! And enjoy yourself! 🙂

  2. shakedshaked6shaked@gmail.com'


    November 17, 2015

    hi, (:
    i am from israel and i wanted to say that it is really hard for me to hear that you need to justify your decision to come here. Although Israel sounds scary, it is actually a great place which defined by it’s radicals residents. Most of the people here are secular and liberal, me included.
    I really hope you enjoyed your trip here ♥

  3. Lola1@gmail.com'


    November 16, 2015

    Firstly, just a quick history correction. You said “for those who aren’t aware or haven’t been educated… it was in 1948 when Israel came to being, after a war with the Palestinians.” Actually, Israel fought a war against a coalition of Arab states, not “the Palestinians” who did not have any significant military capability.

    Anyway, as a self-confessed Christian woman, I implore you to recognize that your fellow Christians suffer many injustices under Israeli occupation and are discriminated against daily. You’re having a great time no doubt being treated to the best the Israeli tourism board can offer and you’re excited to see the holy sites, but think for a moment about Palestinian Christians who are FORBIDDEN from visiting the places you’re being taken to simply because of their nationality.

    Christians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are denied basic religious freedoms and routinely prohibited from traveling very short distances to worship in one of the most holy sites in Christianity – the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City of Jerusalem- which you must be eager to see.

    The Israeli persecution of Palestinian Christians has a long history – many fled or were expelled during the 1948 war and have not been allowed to return. Christians have been killed, driven from their homes, had their villages destroyed and their churches attacked. The Israeli government has failed to appropriately deal with Israeli aggression against holy Christian sites over the last few years.

    You may have already made your mind up but realize that by visiting, supporting and PROMOTING the State of Israel, you contribute to the plight of your CHRISTIAN brothers and sisters.

  4. josiecanderson@gmail.com'


    November 16, 2015

    I just wanted to say how admirable it is for you to visit a place you’ve always wanted to see, despite the controversy, potential danger, social and political implications. I know people have been throwing all kinds of opinions at you and I can bet 99% of them didn’t read this post to fully understand your perspective. I think you’ve done an incredible job staying neutral, ignoring the negativity, and doing exactly what you set out to do – visit Israel to see it for yourself. Keep seeing the world with curious eyes and doing what you do best! <3<3<3

  5. 1j9c5p7@gmail.com'


    November 15, 2015

    Mohamed Anam what pray tell is skewed about her brief history?

  6. russell_anam@hotmail.com'

    Mohammad Anam

    November 14, 2015

    You are free to travel anywhere or choose your destination, it’s your life so definitely do whatever you want. Who cares what others think. However I find your skewed short history very shameful, misleading and offensive.

  7. admilacardoso@hotmail.com'


    November 14, 2015

    You shouldn’t have to defend why you choose to visit certain places.
    Anyway, I hope you enjoy the trip! Can’t wait for posts about it
    I would love to visit Israel

    Lots of hugs, A

  8. anna_jane_naza@hotmail.com'

    Anna Jane Nazarian

    November 14, 2015

    Hello 🙂 I’m a Lebanese reader and I just wanted to tell you to enjoy your trip in Israel.
    I have always wated to visit the Holy Land, however, as a Lebanese, I am restricted from entering this land and soak into the wonderful place where Jesus has been raised, aside from Lebanon. I completely understand your decision on visiting this full of historical place, and I hope you visit and see the beautiful wonders of Lebanon. ❤️

  9. eupdatesuae@gmail.com'


    November 13, 2015

    Travelling to a place that is in the news every day for violence and attacks takes a good amount of courage. Yet, look at Israel through the eyes of a traveller and not of the political world is appreciable.

  10. brooklyn_0391@hotmail.com'


    November 13, 2015

    Good for you Brooke!
    Everyone I know who has been to Israel has said how beautiful and amazing it is. I’m so happy for you that you are off to experience it yourself.

  11. celine.boel@gmail.com'


    November 13, 2015

    Awesome post Brooke. Hope you have an amazing time and looking forward to your posts!

  12. hello@wanderfever.com'


    November 13, 2015

    It’s so sad that you have to defend yourself and explain why you choose to go to certain places, just because people judge. I hope Israel won’t disappoint you and you have an amazing time!

  13. australianabroad@hotmail.com'

    Grace Blake

    November 13, 2015

    Hey Brooke! I love love love this post! I visited Israel just under a year ago during my backpacking adventures. It was incredible to say the least. Some of the most taboo countries hold some of the world’s most enriching experiences. I hope you have an amazing experience and find the answers you’re looking for x

  14. christinalett@gmail.com'


    November 12, 2015

    Whenever I get nervous about visiting a place due to politics or government issues, a good friend of mine is always fond of pointing out to me that governments are not the same as the people. People are people. Governments are so varied and have pros/cons that the average person often has no control over. Judging an entire group of people on the actions of a tiny subset in control, is very silly and ignorant. Governments come and go… but people are always just people, just living their lives. Tourism, I think lets people meet people….which ultimately, hopefully is what makes the world a better place.

  15. Lisalandry126@gmail.com'


    November 12, 2015

    I’m shocked out outraged everyone is. I just got back from 10 days in Israel and the West Bank and it was amazing in both places! I felt safer than I do at home in the U.S.

  16. shethatisnau@gmail.com'


    November 12, 2015

    I find the term “Holy Land” offensive, but whatever. My grandma visited Israel for similar reasons, which I understand, but don’t support personally. It’s akin to visiting Cinderella’s castle for the religious experience of having seen it in one of my favorite childhood films, without as much money going towards supporting warfare or genocide.

  17. Rrgrove@gmail.com'


    November 12, 2015


    My husband and I went for a week last February and it was incredible. The hype shown on the media is completely built up. We had an amazing week, met wonderful people, saw beautiful and fascinating sites. You will love it!!

  18. ashleighday@hotmail.co.nz'

    Ashleigh Day

    November 12, 2015

    Well written Brooke! These are the same reasons I one day hope to visit Israel and learn about how all the religions have intertwined through the years, there is so much rich history. Hope you enjoy Israel and learn lots! Love your blog, keep doing you girl!

  19. contact@dametraveler.com'

    Nastasia Wong

    November 12, 2015

    Amazing post Brooke. Thank you for this! Much needed.

  20. ameliasfleurs@nelson-tel.net'


    November 12, 2015

    I came over here from Instagram. I was shocked and mortified by the hateful comments people were leaving about Israel and your being there. I pray you’ll stand firm, and not back down, and continue to provide great posts about your travels…including Israel! My word, if we were all stop visiting countries because we didn’t like their politics, there’d be no place to go! The ridiculous and pure insanity of those comments are just unbelievable to me.

  21. Karina.bergum@gmail.com'


    November 12, 2015

    Hello Brooke!

    First of all, I hope you have a wonderful time in Israel!

    I read through several of your Instagram comments and I understand that you might have felt you needed to justify your visit based on all the negativity. Yet, it’s really a shame that those people made you feel like that.

    Israel is a wonderful, varied country that I’m sure you’ll love. And of course it’s completely justified to travel places without having to make any political standpoint.

    And just one last thought; it’s funny that anywhere else in the world you would choose to visit, which will be far “worse” than Israel (say North Korea, Iran, and several other countries in Africa or The Middle East) will not create any controversies or negativity from anyone. Just a thought.

  22. ilor.fleishman@gmail.com'

    Ilor Fleishman

    November 12, 2015

    Hi Brooke, welcome to Israel, I’m from Tel Aviv So If you’d like i’ll show you around 🙂 ilor.fleishman@gmail, Ilor1 on instagram. Have fun!

  23. shelleyschooler@gmail.com'


    November 12, 2015

    I have been following your travels and blog for awhile, and I have no doubt you will follow deeply in love with Israel. I have traveled here, and it is not what the media portrays at all. I felt safe and was overwhelmed by the beauty of the country. From the crystal clear waters in Tel-Aviv, to the history in Jerusalem, the rolling hillsides to the dessert. The country may be small, but has a little bit of everything for everyone. There truly is no place like it. Have a wonderful time and I cannot wait to read about your adventure.

  24. rachaelgallo@hotmail.com'

    Rachael @ Catch Me if You Can

    November 12, 2015

    very well said. this has been a place i would like to visit as well but its not at the top for the very reason you said, the turmoil makes me nervous. i am excited for you to share your experience. i hope you have safe travels and get all you want out of this amazing trip!

  25. kjecabat@gmail.com'


    November 12, 2015

    Well said 🙂

  26. golubeva_14@mail.ru'

    Tanya ♥ (@xlittle14x)

    November 12, 2015

    Lovely post!
    Read my new post x

  27. vanessamrivers@gmail.com'

    Vanessa Rivers

    November 12, 2015



  28. carladg@gmail.com'

    Carla Genovesio

    November 12, 2015

    Cheers! I’m a christian too. 🙂

  29. thetouristoflife@gmail.com'


    November 12, 2015

    You don’t have to explain yourself for visiting a destination! You’re a traveler, I mean, you want to see the whole world and so does a big part of your audience.

    Travel where you wanna go Brooke, don’t apologize for the things you want. People have an opinion anyways – even if you don’t go.

  30. safiyyah.alli16@gmail.com'

    Safiyyah Alli

    November 11, 2015

    hi ! so apart from all the occupation and war, it is an absolutely beautiful place and the palestinians both christian and muslim are such amazing people! even some of the zionists living there are nice people, but that doesn’t condone the actions of the IDF and how they monitor the old city like hawks, every 20m you find a group of about 5-6 soldiers with big guns… like i was terrified when i first got there, but they are such wimps lol!! anyways … the place is amazing and a lovely pic

  31. hwaddell94@gmail.com'


    November 11, 2015

    Thank you for this article! As a fellow Christian, I can appreciate your reasons for visiting the birthplace of Christianity, as well as for no other purpose than becoming educated. So many people want to politicize everything, but sometimes it’s just about the experience.

  32. mikaela.savolainen@gmail.com'


    November 11, 2015

    Our world, this wonderful and odd world, has countless places with political/religious unrest. Many of those places also have superb archeological, historical and cultural heritage. Amazing natural beauty and richness. Anyone who chooses to see the world should step outside his or her own (sometimes frighteningly narrow) opinions and views. We should take off those pre-set programmings and the lenses of certain kind. Try to take a neutral approach and let the experience form as an actual experience, sans all the un-compromising, personal opinions. You go and experience & share it with your community, Brooke. That’s exactly what you are and should be doing!

  33. rofish2011@gmail.com'


    November 11, 2015

    Hi, I know Israel quite well, don’t agree at all with their government and their occupation of the Westbank, but you made the point: Go for yourself , listen to people, look around and, what I liked best about your post: Ask question and question answers. Brilliant, thanks a lot for this inspiration (even though if it was sponsored by Israeli tourist board ;-))

  34. stephen.b.johnson@gmail.com'


    November 11, 2015

    Let’s be real – you are going here because the tourism industry paid for you to go. If it wasn’t them, you’d be off somewhere else. Your site is all sponsored content. It was just a matter of time before Israel sponsored you.

  35. Liza.herlands@gmail.com'

    Liza herlands

    November 11, 2015

    I don’t normally post on your articles although I’ve been an avid reader for more than a year. I can only hope to get to where you are some day photographing, traveling and exploring the world for a living. But I felt I had to say something here if not just for your other followers reading these comments. You should never feel that you should justify places you’re traveling to. It is an absolute shame that the world forces you to feel that way, and I 100% understand it. Being a Jewish girl as an expat in Ireland (a prodominatly Catholic country) I often feel nervous to say I’ve never celebrated a real Christmas or let people know a part of my identity that I feel so close with. A couple weeks ago I had a cab driver from a Muslim country and we spoke for a while about the fact that we were both different in a country that doesn’t know too much about either of our religions. People are people. And while I don’t always agree with Netanyahu I stand by people. It’s a horrible thing that people can’t see past that and view the country as an umbrella for war and horrible things. Going to Israel changed me for the better. If nothing else to see the goegeous ruins and explore the small country for its vast differences, it’s arguably one of the best places to learn about the nature of humans. Just because it is a war torn country and might unfortunately be for a long time, there are still amazing and absolutely wonderful people of all religions who inhabit it. If you (readers) don’t do the research on the country, realize that Palestinians and Jews alike are not these big looming monsters, but are PEOPLE and have thoughts and feelings just as the ones from their safe homes. Sorry for the rant! Have an amazing time Brooke, you’ll love it as I’m sure you already know you will!

  36. byckova.m@seznam.cz'


    November 11, 2015

    This post is written in a very nice way,but I have to agree with some peope in the discusion.Why the hell should you justify being in Israel?!It seems to me crazy that someone would disagree with this decision.There might be wars,political issues etc.But you are a travel blogger,so you can travel wherever you want.Anyway,I wish you to enjoy this wonderful country,be safe and I hope my dream to visit Israel will come true one day!

  37. karmapoliice@gmail.com'

    Tessa / Bramble & Thorn

    November 11, 2015

    I’d love to visit Israel, it looks like such a fascinating country with such a rich history! Although I may not agree with much of their politics, it should never stop you for exploring a country and figuring out your own perspective 🙂

    Tessa at

  38. claure09@gmail.com'


    November 11, 2015

    Great article! Thank you!
    How long would you recommend to travel there and have the time to get a real flavour of all the sacred sites and visit each place with a “christian” eye?

  39. Scoobynbelle-krn@sbcglobal.net'

    Karen Nordyke

    November 11, 2015

    Do what YOU want! What did Forest Gump “You can please some of the
    people some of tgevtime, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time!” Errrrrrr, wait a minute, maybe it was mom that said it?!?! Anyhoo…live YOUR life. No one can do it for you! (Dunno who said that!!) LOL

  40. ruby_jules86@hotmail.com'

    Julie McCormack

    November 11, 2015

    Hi Brooke,
    I concur with the sentiments of many who have written in support of your trip. I would dearly love to see the Holy Lands one day! A couple of years ago I met some truly lovely young men from Nazareth who assured me that it is very safe to visit and a beautiful part of the world… (How cool is it that they live where Jesus grew up, ps?!). May your trip be blessed beyond measure, brimming with insights and delights!

  41. admin@thetwodriftes.net'


    November 11, 2015

    Enjoy it Brooke! I went there a few years ago and had an incredible time. It is truely surreal to be in and see the places you have grown up learning about. Enjoy learning all about the history, cultures and religions that are there, it is true – travel educates you in a different way to everything else!

  42. sixtytwo62@gmail.com'


    November 11, 2015

    Hey Brooke,it think it’s great that you are visiting the holy lands ,from what u hear it’s a fantastic experience, I hope to one day visit there myself.

    I also think your idea of travelling to educate yourself makes a lot of sense and I hope that you won’t confine your travels over there to certain areas . I mean that doesn’t give the full perspective especially in a place as complex as Isreal /Palestine .

    For example you could visit Sandton in South Africa and think that South Africa is a well established country with world class facilities or you could visit the townships and realise that there is still great poverty and difficulties in that country.

    I do hope you have a fulfiling trip and I look forward to reading your posts about your time over there .

  43. ggsnim371@gmail.com'


    November 11, 2015

    I don’t care why you have been there. It is your choice and I appreciate it so much!! I just hope you are safe!

  44. nosizwemartin@yahoo.co.uk'


    November 11, 2015

    Such a shame that you have to defend your choice of destination.
    You will your senses completely overwhelmed, from Tel Aviv, the party town with the most incredible foods, to Eilat where chilling out is a prerequisite, to Jerusalem which will take your breath away, and even Haifa with the headquarters of the Ba’haii faith in the most stunning surroundings. The Church of the Annunciation will settle around your being like the best Peace Blanket, ever!
    Enjoy, have fun, discover incredible art, food, people, history. You’ll never sit on the fence in Israel, you’ll love or hate whatever it is. Such a great experience!

  45. maranelson@thefullnelsonexperience.com'


    November 11, 2015

    Wonderfully stated! I look forward to reading of your journey to Israel. My step-mother brought her mother there 2 years ago to do many of the same things that you plan to do. She is going back in April with my Father this time. She enjoyed her travels there that much!

  46. jchiggs@bigpond.net.au'

    Christina Higgs

    November 11, 2015

    Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this amazing part of the world. To travel is to educate your mind, ignore any negativity, the more you see, the more you learn, the more you learn, the less you judge. Looking forward to your thoughts on safety in the region. We changed our travel plans last year because of the unrest in the region and all the media fuss. Traveling with children makes you more cautious. Wonder whether I made the right judgment call?

  47. amywittber@gmail.com'


    November 11, 2015

    You should never have to apologise for the decisions you make! I am incredibly impressed with your attitude and the statement “I will not know what it is like in Israel until I see it for myself” – too true. I for one am a little scared at the thought of travelling there alone as a female in these current times – even though I want too so badly – what an incredible country with history as old as old can be. I’m looking forward to your posts!

  48. Gsjfh@gdjd.com'


    November 11, 2015

    It’s ridiculous that you even feel like you need to explain or justify this!! People who love Israel wonder why you haven’t visited ages ago already, because this country is just like any other country, and as a traveler it is a normal place to visit for anyone, especially for a blog traveler. So you just basically justifing to the haters why you are not one of them.. That’s sad.
    I hope you enjoy this country and avoid all the drama that people dragged you in for no reason whatsorever.

    Much love!

  49. southernkiss@thecottondiaries.com'


    November 11, 2015

    We were just discussing this the other day, and I can’t imagine being able to travel where Jesus walked! Thank you for your inspiration and willingness to lead and not follow! #thecottondiaries.com

  50. zeytouniinc@gmail.com'

    Nuha Zeytouni

    November 11, 2015

    May God bless you and keep you safe and happy Brooke. Thank you for being you and for enlightening the world through your travels and perspectives. I wanted you to know you have my utmost respect and admiration for the way you take life on and how you approach people’s opinions and unfortunate judgements. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures in Israel and Palestine! Love and light from my heart to yours <3

  51. Suzi-davenport@comcast.net'


    November 11, 2015

    Brooke, this is so inspiring! As a fellow Christian, it’s always a joy to find out that someone you look up to shares the same beliefs! I’m so excited to see all of your posts from the Holy Land, and I pray that you stay safe and have an amazing time!

Comments are closed.