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Muslim in Israel

Cologne
2 posts
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Muslim in Israel

Hi, since this subject has been coming up from time to time, I would like to share with you:

My wife and I are both German Muslims. My father is originally from Syria, my wife's parents are from Lebanon. But both of us are born in Germany, and we have German passports.

Last year, a befriended couple with whom we have been traveling a lot in recent years (both of them Christians - or rather not belonging to any religion at all...) suggested us to visit Israel together. My first reaction was: No way! Having heard so many stories about bad treatment of Muslims by the Israeli authorities, I did not want to spoil our vaccation.

But then, slowly, we started reading guide books, making plans... And eventually, our frineds convinced us to make the booking.

When we arrived at Tel Aviv Airport, we stood in line at the passport control. When it was our turn, the lady in the booth looked into our passports (there were a few lebanese stamps) and made a phone call. A police officer appeared who politely asked us to follow him. They brought us to a special room, and I thought: "There we are. The stories I heard ARE true." The officer asked us what we had been doing in Lebanon. First, I wanted to give some kind of snub answer, but then I took a deep breath, decided to stay calm and explained that we went there for family visits. He asked us about the places we had visited and about the purpose of our visit in Israel. We decided to stay calm and to reply as precisely as possible. The officer went away with our passports, and another lady officer appeared who asked us the very same questions. Again, I was tempted to become agitated and to ask why she was asking the same questions all over again - but again, I decided to stay calm and to respond only to the questions. The lady started typing something into her computer, and I was wondering what would follow. But then - to our big surprise - she gave us a broad smile, handed over our passports and said: "Welcome to Israel!" - We passed through the gate, and our friends were waiting outside. All of this took just a little more than half an hour!

In Israel, we visited Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Akko, Haifa, and the Sea of Galilee. I prayed at the Al Aksa Mosque in jerusalem and at the Al-Jezzar-Mosque in Acre. There were so many Muslims around that we simply did not stand out... Everyone in Israel was very friendly - Jews, Muslims, Christians... It was the vacation of our lifetime!! There was only one occasion when an Israeli teenager in Jerusalem spoke to us in a rude way. But things like this happen in Berlin all the time...

When we left, we had to answer many questions of the airport security again. And again, there were two officers asking exactly the same stuff. Sounds stupid, but again, we decided to remember our good manenrs and to reply politely and precisely. Thus, there was no problem and everything went smoothly.

We will certainly travel to Israel again!

Cologne
2 posts
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1. Re: Muslim in Israel

P.S.: For those who might be wondering whether I am real: I have been lurking around here for a while, before I decided to write my first post. And of course, my screen name is not my real name!

Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
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14,224 posts
183 reviews
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2. Re: Muslim in Israel

Thanks for sharing your story!

Douglas Duckett

Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv
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5,863 posts
140 reviews
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3. Re: Muslim in Israel

Thanks for posting. First hand accounts are so important. Glad you had a great time in Israel.

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
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15,564 posts
76 reviews
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4. Re: Muslim in Israel

Thanks for sharing your experiences and reassuring others who are thinking of coming to Israel.

Glad to hear you had a wonderful time - as we have always said - if you are calm, truthful and cooperative you will not have any problems - and you saw that first hand.

I hope that your report will calm the fears that others have - and we hope to see you back here again.

Oreet Segal

Israel

Israel
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91 posts
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5. Re: Muslim in Israel

Thank you for sharing!

I hope you will find the time to write also about your experiences and impressions of Israel.

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
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14,055 posts
243 reviews
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6. Re: Muslim in Israel

It is great to hear of your positive experience. It's not necessarily Moslems that may have extra questioning but rather anyone who may stand out by places visited in the past amongst other criteria. You have proven that with patience your entry/exit will run smoothly.

Glad you enjoyed your trip and hope it won't be too long before you are able to visit again.

Chana

Israel

Paragon
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1,743 posts
45 reviews
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7. Re: Muslim in Israel

Thank you SO much for sharing your experience with us.

Kathy

Muscat, Oman
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22 posts
39 reviews
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8. Re: Muslim in Israel

Thank you so much for sharing this, I myself am an arab muslim and have been really eager to visit (palestine/isreal). But have always been worried if it'll be an issue this made things much clearer i have traveled alot around europe and asia but never been to that part. And as for the people i have never had any doubt that there are some really wonderful people which is the case anywhere in the world theres good and bad. If you could post images of your trip that would be great and maybe a report which would be very helpfull for who plans to visit it.

Edited: 27 March 2013, 08:56
Jerusalem, Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
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2,377 posts
10 reviews
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9. Re: Muslim in Israel

M738, you're more than welcome to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Do note that you have to arrange a visa for Israel from an Israeli embassy before your arrival.

embassies.gov.il/Pages/…

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
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34,766 posts
35 reviews
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10. Re: Muslim in Israel

I too want to thank you for posting. I am so glad you kept your cool when security asked you a few extra questions. Unfortunately attitude seems to be one of the things that gets people in trouble. Security needs to be convinced you are just a tourist--and if your behavior thinks you may be more than that, they will continue to question until they are satisfied.

note: there have been two reports on TA of negative behavior. One as second hand when the poster said they told someone they wouldn't let him in until he admitted he was on his way to study at a university ( forget which one) When the guy said that was indeed where he was going--they let him in! The second was two women who were denied entry. A second poster than came up with a link that showed these two women were not innocent tourists but activists in the US who were the heads of anti-Israel organizations. They were not coming to tour but to incite. Something security apparently knew and they were lying about!