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The first three months of the year 2001 I was based in Beer-Sheva, visiting Jerusalem regularly and spending a week there for a conference. There was not a single unpleasant incident I witnessed, let alone was involved in. In fact, the naturally increased security awareness also seems to keep petty crime and violence very low. I leave it to the reader to estimate the likelihood of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. My estimation and my experience have never given me any reason to be worried during my whole time in Israel.
I have been living in Beer Sheva from October 2000 to March 2001 and I found it a safe place. I also visited East Jerusalem and all I can say is that there are less tourists than usual. The agressions are not at all directed towards tourists, on the one hand since the Israelis and the Palestinians both depend on tourism and on the other hand since nobody wants to loose international support. One should be aware of the security checks at the airports and so on. Be able to prove what your profession is (papers, slides, etc.). Carry a program or invitation for the meeting. It might be a good idea to know the telephone numbers of the organizers.
We came to Israel last September and actually we have found Beer-Sheva to be a very safe place. Watching the television news one can get the impression that there is war everywhere in Israel, but it is not like that. In Beer-Sheva, like in other cities, people lead a normal life. There have been no terrorist attacks here and it is not a dangerous city concerning crime. We used to walk around every day and visit the neighborhoods in town and also in late evenings, and we enjoyed it. In many cities in other countries walking alone in the evening is not recommended but in Beer-Sheva it is. During Christmas we visited Betlehem, Jerusalem and people were really kind to us, so it seems that the conflict does not touch tourists at all.