'It's totally safe - they know where to send us'

Some young tourists do not feel pressure to return home due to the violence in the North.

tourists temple 298 88aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
tourists temple 298 88aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
A group of teenagers sat laughing and talking in Jerusalem's Kikar Zion while Israelis and other tourists milled around them on crowded Rehov Ben-Yehuda. The five girls and one boy, from United Synagogue Youth's Poland/Israel Pilgrimage, dressed in clothes covered in paint splotches, testified to a general feeling of safety and calm. They are a small representation of people traveling in Israel from the United States and Canada who are not facing pressure to return home due to the violence in the North. "No one from our group is going home," said one girl wearing large sunglasses and a cut red shirt. "I feel like it's totally fine and totally safe. We were supposed to go to Safed, and five minutes before we were going to leave, we were told not to go. They know where and where not to send us." The parents of two of the travelers asked their children if they wanted to return home. Both of them said no. Judy Boxer's parents have pressured their daughter, who arrived in Israel on Thursday morning, to return home to Vancouver. She came to participate in a summer program at the Pardes Institute. Her parents have posed the question of what she would do if they bought her a plane ticket. "It's a tough call to decide," the 22-year-old said. "It'd be hard for me to refuse the ticket out of respect for my parents. I'm the one having a great time in Israel and they're sitting at home worrying. I hope they wouldn't do that [buy a ticket]. It's an awkward situation." Boxer's parents share the same feeling as Eve Libby's. Libby has an internship at a marketing company in Beit Shemesh for the summer. Her parents want her to come home to Great Neck, New York. Libby's sister was to join her here next week to volunteer at an orphanage in Netanya. Her parents won't allow her to come now due to the current situation. Libby said her sister would normally be upset, but she understands where their parents are coming from. "I feel bad saying no [to returning home], but I don't think they are overreacting," Libby said. "I think they are being normal, caring parents. At the same time I'm old enough to make the decision."