• Name: Paul McLerran
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Thursday, January 13, 2005

Is It Safe To Dig In Israel?

Given the ongoing violence most of us witness and read about in the media concerning the broiling issues in Israel, it is natural for the potential dig participant to ask that perennial question: Is it safe to dig in Israel?

The U.S. State Department will officially advise us that we should avoid traveling to Israel, for obvious reasons. Most unofficial inside observers, however, will qualify that advice. It may not be a good idea, for example, to go wandering around town in Gaza, but the probability of terrorism at an archaeological dig site is relatively minimal. In addition, the construction of Israel's security fence/wall has apparently had a very significant affect on reducing the overall risk, wherever one is in the country. Tourism has increased, and Israelis are now going out at night more often to visit the popular restaurants and cafes. That being said, it would be unfair to lull ourselves into a false sense of security and inaccurately maintain that there is no longer any risk. Setting fear and emotion aside, however, and using the logic of statistical probability, the chance of being victimized by an act of violence anywhere in Israel is likely no more risky than the chance of falling victim to an automobile accident on the daily commute to work or school every day in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Ultimately, the judgment about safety is a personal one.


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