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Israeli Vacation

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This is the Savvy Traveler, I'm Rudy Maxa. If you have a trip scheduled to the Middle East this month, you might be re-thinking your plans. El Al, the Israeli airline, is allowing passengers with non-refundable tickets to Israel to cancel trips without penalty at least until November 1. Some tour operators are letting you postpone trips, too.

So if you have a business meeting or perhaps a family event coming up in Israel, should you go? It's a question that's been asked a lot on the Savvy Traveler web site. Of course, about a week ago, the State Department warned Americans to put off travel to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip.

My answer is, make sure you know where to go and where not to go. You probably wouldn't put off a visit to southern California because there were riots in a couple of neighborhoods in, say, San Diego. Of course helicopter gun ships aren't used to quell urban disturbances in the US--the tension and level of military retaliation is much higher in Israel. But up to the time we put this show together, tourists hadn't been targeted, nor had there been reports of random, widespread violence. If you must go, go with caution. And let family members know where to reach you-they'll probably be more concerned than you'll be when you're there.


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