Dave Stamboulis / Alamy
The Old City of Jerusalem
Two travel companies are adding new trips to Israel, even as the conflict in the Gaza Strip
 continues and despite a July warning from the U.S. Department of State "that U.S.
 citizens consider the deferral of non-essential travel to Israel and the West Bank." 
 company run by travel specialist Joe Yudin, has created a new five-night "geo-political
 tour" of the country.
"I thought that Israel's side of the story wasn't being told properly in the media," Yudin 
says. "It's also no secret that tourism to Israel has taken a serious hit, so I thought that
 people who really want to understand the Middle East better would absolutely love this 
The newly launched itinerary includes daily meetings with Israeli journalists, authors, 
military personnel, and other locals who can give perspective on the current conflict. The 
trip also includes a stop at "an overlook into the Gaza Strip" and "an Iron Dome Battery
 overlook," according to a sample itinerary from Yudin. Other highlights, dependent on the

 security situation, include "Gaza border communities, the Syrian border, and the
 'Separation Wall.'" (The five-night trip starts around $3,300 per person.)
Nicholas Wood, another travel specialist and the director of Political Tours, says his
 agency has actually expanded offerings to Israel. "The conflict has not turned our 
customers away," he says. Because Wood's clients are deeply interested in current events,
 he says, they "accept a higher level of political insecurity" when making travel plans.
Political Tours has added a second October departure after a first itinerary to Israel sold
 out. "Our focus will be on 'what is the overall state of the peace process' and who are the
 communities involved in that," Wood says. "We see our role as trying to provide a greater
 understanding of world events." (The nine-night trips from Political Tours
 start around $5,300.)

Contributed by , www.cntraveler.com

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