Though there are a number of Muslim holy sites in the land of Israel, international tensions going back centuries have complicated everybody’s journey to many of these holy sites, be they Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Baha’i or even just a curiosity seeker from another faith.
Likely the most iconic element of Islam in Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock is an Islamic shrine that is among the few locations that all people are most easily allowed into. Built around a large stone that is widely believed to be the altar of the First and Second Temples of Jerusalem, Islamic doctrine holds that this was the point from which the Prophet Muhammad ascended to glimpse Paradise itself, a journey described in the 17th Sura of the Qu’ran. A number of most trusted hadiths also cite this area as the stone where Abraham prepared to sacrifice Ishmael, the father of the Arabic people, both highly revered figures in the Islamic faith, though other hadiths place this event in Mecca instead. The Dome has a checkered history and has been held by a number of different groups before the modern caretakers.
Perhaps more noteworthy is the Al Aqsa Mosque that was constructed in CE 720 on the southernmost side of the Temple Mount. Unlike the Dome of the Rock, the Al Aqsa Mosque has long been a strong point of Islam in Jerusalem and is actually the third most important Muslim place of prayer, trailing only behind the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina where the religion began. For some years, it was actually the location Muslims prayed towards before that position was eventually superseded by Mecca during the Prophet’s life time. Though officially under Israeli control, the Islamic Waqf still administrates the site and leaves it open for Muslim visitors to this very day.
My husband and I were thinking about touring the Middle East. We had never been there before, and there were several places that we wanted to visit including the Dead Sea. Since we weren’t familiar with the area we wanted to learn more about it and the crime statistics in Israel. We wanted to make sure we had an enjoyable trip and weren’t going to an area with lots of crime.
Before planning our trip or paying for it, we started researching the places that we wanted to visit and check the crime statistics in Israel. We looked online at a package we were going to buy and looked at the different cities we would be traveling to. We looked up the crime rates in each place.
Then we started looking for reviews from people that have visited the same places before. We went to the Trip Advisor website and read reviews on the places we would be visiting and staying. We found lots of helpful information on the crime rates in Israel.
After reading statistics and also tourist reviews of Israel, we decided we wanted to visit. We went ahead and bought the travel deal online and made reservations for some other things we wanted to see.
I wouldn’t have traveled anywhere without looking at the crime rates in the area, especially out of the country travel. I am glad the crime rates were low in the places we visited or we wouldn’t have got to experience the Middle East. We got to see the Dead Sea which has fascinated us both since we were kids. I am glad we both got to experience it and the other places we visited as well because it was a once in a lifetime experience for us both.
One does not have to be Jewish in order to visit Israel. A lot of people forget that Jesus was a jew who lived in this area. There are many significant monuments and places to visit that have a direct impact on the history of Christianity. Here is a video that features some of the highlights of going on a Christian tour.